A.G. Schneiderman Secures Agreement Ensuring Full Access To Law Enforcement Services In Middletown

A.G. Schneiderman Secures Agreement Ensuring Full Access To Law Enforcement Services In Middletown

NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced an agreement with the Middletown Police Department that will help strengthen language access services for residents who are limited English proficient (LEP). The agreement will help ensure that officers in the Middletown department are able to provide interpretation and translation services when needed. Middletown’s police department, located in Orange County, serves one of the state’s fastest-growing immigrant populations.

“Access to effective law enforcement and police services should be available to every New Yorker, regardless of their ability to read or write English," Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Our office’s agreement with the Middletown Police Department demonstrates the efforts necessary to make certain that the delivery of police services is not compromised by language barriers.”

In cooperation with the Attorney General's Office, the Middletown Police Department agreed to improve its language access policies for individuals who are limited English proficient. Going forward, the Department will provide all necessary interpretation and translation services for victims, witnesses and subjects; take meaningful steps to identify bilingual officers; conduct training for both current and new officers regarding the revised language access policy and protocols; make available translated materials and public notices, and regularly convene with the Attorney General's Office to discuss the progress in the implementation of its language access program. 

According to Census data, approximately two and a half million New Yorkers do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English. More than 18% of Middletown's residents speak English less than "very well." The Department's strengthened language access program will help ensure that individuals in the Middletown community have full access to vital police services, regardless of language ability.

Chief Ramon Bethencourt said, “The City of Middletown Police Department strives to provide the most current and professional services for the residents of and visitors to the City of Middletown. We are committed to professionalism in all aspects of our operations. Ensuring that our officers can meet the needs of our residents who may not speak English well is an important step in providing the best service to our citizens. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Attorney General’s Office to help ensure that we are effectively carrying out this goal.” 

Middletown Mayor Joseph M. DeStefano said, “The Department is committed to ensuring that all individuals served by the Middletown Police Department are granted meaningful access to our services, including those whose English is limited. The Department appreciates having worked with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Office to ensure that necessary interpretation and translation is provided by our officers and civilians to LEP persons.”

The matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Allegra Chapman, under the supervision of Civil Rights Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg, and Janet Sabel, First Deputy Attorney General of Affirmative Litigation.

The Civil Rights Bureau is committed to promoting civil rights compliance across New York State. To file a complaint with the Bureau, contact 212-416-8250 or Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov.