Spanish language skills encouraged for law enforcement

BISMARCK, N.D. - Law enforcement says they're seeing more immigrants making their way to the state. So, how important is it for officers across our state to know a foreign language?

Some deputies at Morton County Sheriff's Department say they have to put their Spanish to use at least once or twice a day.

A routine stop could be a little more difficult when there's a language barrier.

"To be able to communicate with them is probably one of the most essential things," said Morton County Sheriff Corporal Tad Pritchett.

Listening to Hispanic music is one way, Pritchett stays in tune with his Spanish.

His coworker Josh Selle, says he has other methods to learn the language.

"I use Duolingo to memorize on my phone when I have time. I listen to podcasts," said Selle.

Across the river at the Detention Center, there's one employee who is bilingual and she says she's often asked for help.

Detention Center employee Lorena Aguirre said: "Even if there's a deputy on the road that has questions and they can't communicate, they call me. So, it's very important to know the language."

Aguirre encourages more officers to learn the language to help communicate with the influx of immigrants into our community.

Bismarck State College says they offer a Spanish for law enforcement course on their campus.

College officials tell me they currently have no one enrolled, but it is an online class that you can be a part of if you're interested.