Q&A: Evanston Police Department set to host first Community Police Academy in Spanish


Daily file photo by Daniel Tan

Evanston Police Department vehicles. The first session of EPD’s first Spanish Community Police Academy is Thursday.

Divya Bhardwaj, Assistant City Editor

Evanston Police Department will host its first Community Police Academy in Spanish beginning Thursday. Ahead of its launch, lead facilitator Officer Cesar Galindo spoke with The Daily about what the community can expect from the six-week program.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

The Daily: How did the idea for the Spanish Police Academy get started?

Galindo: With our new chief that got hired, she did a lot of committee outreach to see what new things could be implemented, or where we could increase our community outreach. In talks with the community and her sessions with “Coffee with the Chief”, and because of talking to us, the idea came as a collaborative — basically the community and us working together. I know a lot of the programming that the police department used to offer basically got put on hold because of manpower issues, and COVID hit. So it was just a way to bring back some of these programs, and why not make it our first-ever Spanish Citizen Police Academy? 

The Daily: What are your goals for the Police Academy? 

Galindo: Our goal is to have the community get a good experience of what we’re doing on a daily basis — how the police department operates. In attending some of these meetings with organizations like Evanston Latinos, (community members) have a lot of questions: how things operate, why we do things, what happens when they file a police report. But some of these people don’t speak English, so as a liaison with the community and the police department, it’s trying to make them understand the process of filing a police report and why it is that we do things. 

This is a great opportunity for community (members) to come out and see for (themselves) what it is that we do and also have a lot of their concerns and questions answered by EPD officers. 

The Daily: What are Northwestern and the Moran Center lending to the program?

Galindo: The Moran Center is going to have two attorneys come and talk to the students about the court system. The first step is filing a police report. If it ends up in court, a lot of people don’t know where to go or what goes on in court. They’re there to break down any type of court process that goes on and answer questions. 

With the Northwestern Police Department, we’re collaborating in training with a virtual machine, which gives different scenarios that police officers may face on the streets. It just gives them a first hand view of how things look on our end. It’s all virtual and run through the NUPD. 

The Daily: What does the volume of applications you’ve received look like? 

Galindo: We have had a great response from the community. The reason why we want to cap it is to get people the best experience and get a good-size class that we can interact with. I believe we were more than 50% booked within the first three or four days — (people) responded fast. We’re very excited and looking forward to it. 

Email: [email protected]

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