Audit: NYPD falling short in providing certified interpreters

BROOKLYN - A new audit finds that the NYPD does not always provide interpreters for residents who do not speak English and need assistance.

In a 43-page report, the Justice Department's Office for Civil Rights concluded that the police department is not fully complying with federal civil rights laws and must do more to provide non-English speakers with "meaningful access to its services."

According to the review, the NYPD only has 12 certified Spanish interpreters, one for every 76,748 Spanish-speaking residents. It also says that officers have been known to ask children to interpret during domestic-violence checks and rely on bystanders to translate at crime scenes.

The NYPD says it failed to find a single case where any of the non-certified interpreters failed to translate properly. NYPD officials say the department has more than 10,000 Spanish speakers in its force, along with hundreds who speak Italian, Russian and Korean.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says there isn't a requirement that translators be certified.

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