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Police Seeking Bilingual Volunteers

by Katie Pyzyk July 25, 2011 at 8:56 am 3,366 98 Comments

If you can fluently speak a language in addition to English, you may be able to put your skills to good use while helping the Arlington County Police Department.

The department is revitalizing its “Bilingual Ride-a-Long Program”, and wants volunteers to assist officers on patrol around Arlington County. Anyone who lives or works in Arlington is eligible to participate in the program.

Although linguists are needed for a variety of languages, of particular interest are people who speak Spanish, African dialects, French, Mongolian, and Arabic. These are the languages shown to be prevalent in Arlington based on the most recent census figures.

Volunteers would be asked to commit to about 10 hours a month, with flexible times. Although the typical duty would be to ride along with a patrol officer assigned to a specific neighborhood, volunteers may be asked to assist with translation and investigations throughout the county.

If you are interested this opportunity, contact Sergeant Pilco at 703-228-7482 (office) 571-340-2304 (cell) or via email at [email protected] for more information.

  • PikerShorts

    People living in this country for more than 2 years have no excuse for not being functional in English.

    If they have not taken the time or effort to learn the language of the country that is providing them a lifestyle and economic opportunities that are hundreds of times better than their home countries then they do not deserve to be here.

    • KalashniKEV

      Mods feel free to delete if the censored profanity doesn’t meet the standards…

    • doodly

      False assumption one: everyone who comes in contact with the police who doesn’t speak English has been here more than two years.

      False assumption two: it’s easy to learn a foreign language, even with no access to instruction, in two years.

      • Eponymous Coward

        English is a ridiculously arbitrary language. Most monolinguists don’t recognize how bizarre and irregular our verb conjugations, vowel pronounciations, and conditional tenses are because they’ve never studied another language. If there were an incomprehensibility Olympics, English would be a medal contender, up there with Navajo and Icelandic.

    • AllenB

      This program isn’t about whether someone SHOULD know english or not. The fact is that many in Arlington don’t. So this program is helping police deal with situations in the moment they occur.

    • Lily

      Being “functional” in English doesn’t necessarily mean that you are fluent enough to give detailed and accurate information to a police officer.

      I have some sympathy here since I’m married to a native speaker of an obscure langauge which is up there with Chinese and Arabic in terms of difficulty for English speakers. Two years of trying to teach myself has BARELY gotten me to the “functional” level. Good thing law enforcement in his native country doesn’t share your attitude, or I’d be terrified to ever set foot there.

      Not that this’ll have the least impact on your opinion. Just want to speak up and say I am glad our police force does this.

    • ZoningVictim

      Yeah, I think immigrants should work harder to learn English, too, but we’re not doing it to help out the people the police are arresting and those who don’t speak English. It’s actually to help out all of us since it’s impossible to perform a thorough investigation without being able to speak to the people involved and the witnesses. Trying to explain something in enough detail to help an investigator in a language you are only functional is probably nearly impossible, depending on your definition of “functional.”

    • jjbug1

      This comment urges me to ask if others like me who spent more than 6 months on a US overseas facility as a military person or spouse learned much of the local language. Even though I worked in the Commissary office of Wakkanai AF Base with very intelligent, well-educated Japanese who spoke very good English, I was too clueless to attempt to learn the language while working with them!

      What percent of Americans who live abroad more than 6 months actually learn the local language?

  • CW

    Mongolian? Really?

    • JamesE

      Always attacking the City Wok

      • CW

        I hate when they attack my city walls.

        • Ben

          This city needs a Mongorian Missile Defense system…

          • AllenB

            Typo or racial slur?

          • Shecky

            Most definitery a srur. ROR!

      • TJ

        Mmm..City Chicken!

    • LVGuy

      yeah. We have the largest Mongolian population outside of Mongolia. I read an article a few years ago that said the Mongolian population of Arlington is larger than most cities in Mongolia.

      • Chris

        Are there any proper Mongolian restaurants in Arlington? I have no idea what real Mongolian food is, but I’m hungry and looking for lunch places.

        • CW

          I second this question, and I guess that’s where part of my surprise came from. You see tons of very visible enclaves of the other immigrant groups (Annandale, Rockville, the Ethiopian-dense neighborhoods up in NE DC, Eden Center, etc.). But I’ve never even seen a single mongolian place or something purporting itself to be Mongolian, which would seem surprising if we really have such a large population.

          • Lou

            I guess Mongolian BBQ places don’t really count.

          • CW

            I haven’t really even seen any of them.

          • Aaron

            A Mongolian cultural center opened up in the Rosslyn strip mall with Hellburger/Pho 75/Guajillo a couple years ago. The Wilson School nearby has also been hosting Saturday morning Mongolian language classes for a while. Plenty of Mongolians seem to have found employment with other Asian restaurants (I think most of the Georgetown Benihana’s sushi chefs were Mongolian in its final months).

            Although they weren’t truly Mongolian, I wish Flattop would attempt to open another location in Arlington. It’s an absolute shame that the Tenleytown and Ballston restaurants closed in quick succession.

        • LVGuy

          I asked a Mongolian woman once if she could recommend a local Mongolian place and she told me that it was disgusting. From the wikipedia article: “The most common rural dish is cooked mutton, often without any other ingredients.” I get the impression that Mongolia has much more in common with Siberia than with East Asia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_cuisine Seems to be a meat and potatoes type deal.

          There’s some great information in this article about the Mongolian community in Arlington: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/02/AR2006070200875_pf.html

      • NoVapologist

        According to Wikipedia, there were 2,600 Mongolians living in Arlington as of 2006.

  • Well..

    I think you mean African languages, not dialects.

    The continent has 54-ish countries and thousands of languages (albeit some spoken by more people than others), many with multiple dialects, so the police may want to narrow it down a bit more.

  • steve85

    The “pies” are doing this to target crime. Hopefully they don’t put these people in danger riding with them

    • KalashniKEV

      Hopefully the ride along volunteers are thoroughly vetted and investigated prior to their ride-a-long. The Jihadis that keep trying to blow up Pentagon Metro could wreak havoc on ACPD and the community by false interpretation…

      • doodly

        Or the Norwegians.

        • I got that PMA

          Yeah, blonde and blue eyes on a christian crusade

          • doodly

            Let that white blonde through security. Everyone knows only brown people with funny clothes are terrorists.

          • steve85

            Hello no. ArtNow how do you let a comment post like this. This should be flagged for removal

          • doodly

            It was sarcasm, steve.

          • steve85

            That is not sarcasm. That comment was horrible. All brown people are not bad. I don’t believe that someone could comment about a demographic where all people cause trouble. Check the news you will see all nationalities not just brown people cause trouble

          • doodly

            Um, steve, I get to say whether it was sarcasm because I said it. It was making fun of people who think like that. You understand how sarcasm works, right? Maybe you should look it up.

          • Rick

            I find the use of “brown people” by steve85 offensive as well

          • steve85

            i know what sarcasm mean. You need to understand that Arlingon has a lot of different nationalities in our beautiful county. You never know who you might be reading the comments. Just remember that all people are not the same and you comments can affect the other readers on here.

          • Calibrator

            *AHEM* Please recalibrate your humor/ sarcasm detector immediately. Thank you for your cooperation with this matter.

          • Maria

            Don’t worry… no brown people read ArlNow, Steve. They’re too busy committing crimes.

          • Maria

            *the above comment is a test of your humor/sarcasm detector*

          • doodly

            Suuuuuure you know what sarcasm means, steve.

          • steve85

            I didn’t say it Rick. Doodly said it and I commented on how it is offensive

          • steve85

            Maria i am “brown”. That’s f’up that u said that

          • doodly

            Yes, it’s f’d up. That’s the POINT, steve. I’m making fun of people who would actually say that. That’s how sarcasm works.

          • Maria

            I sincerely apologize.

          • steve85

            Maria why would you think that it would be the same people. I accept your apology for what you said but I don’t understand why you think someone is messing with “us”. These are my personal opinions I don’t know who the other people are.

          • Maria

            Oh, it’s just not worth it anymore. If you insist on thinking (or pretending to think) any of us is being even remotely serious in our comments, then there’s nothing we can do for you.

            For the record, in case anyone else is wondering, I do not actually think “brown people” (which is yes, a fairly offensive term) are not reading ArLNow because they’re out committing crimes.

          • sharon

            i am black and i read ArtNow and the comments about “brown people is very offensive. i cannot believe the comment that Maria wrote. ArtNow I thought you delete offensive comments but now I see that thatt you dont.

          • William

            that is true what happen to the flag for removal for offensive comments

          • Lou

            Never was one. You must have this site confused with another one where you post frequently.

          • doodly


            I thought it was clear that I was being sarcastic. When someone complained, I clearly noted that I was being sarcastic, more than once.

            I was making fun of racists. That’s why my comments were so outrageous – they were making fun of how other people think. Sarcasm and satire are an accepted, and often more effective, way of expressing a point. Yes, it can be mistaken, but I have explained – several times – that I was being sarcastic.

          • Maria

            I’m going on the record and saying that steve85, sharon, and Black Man are the same person and are messing with all of us. Let’s let it go now because this could go on all week!

          • Black Man

            WOW!!! you call non-white people “brown”. Thats sad that you could say something like that. Just bc people dont wear the same type of clothes that you wear and they are “brown” doesnt mean that they are terroist. Its call “culture”. People have the right to wear what their culture wears. Whats the difference with the type of clothes at the Omish People wear.

          • doodly

            Dude, for like the 8th time, it was sarcasm. Jeez, dont’ you people read the other comments, or understand sarcasm or satire in the first place?

          • Sukanya Roy

            It is Amish, not Omish.

        • KalashniKEV

          FTR, I wasn’t singling out Radical Islamic Terror. Any group that registers a threat beyond a certain threshold should have resources devoted to tracking and monitoring.

          It would be harder for MS-13 to expand it’s reach down the Pike by falsely interpreting statements in Spanish though…

          • Jackflops

            Beyond the threshold of, say, threatening to roundhouse kick homeless veterans?

          • KalashniKEV

            I would say that that probably wouldn’t justify very much of our County resources to be devoted… certainly not with all the other more serious problems facing our community- Criminal Aliens, the Sex Offender Dorm at Courthouse Metro, the Bum Invasion, random wanton Dog Murals at the Dog Park, sandwich boards advertising the daily specials… oh, and don’t forget all those revenue generating Parking Tickets!! 😉

          • doodly

            What about the invasion of hate-spewing paranoid fascists?

          • KalashniKEV
          • doodly

            Are the homeless out to get you, Kev?

          • KalashniKEV

            No, they’re just an eyesore and a public nuisance.

          • doodly

            So are you, so we’re even.

          • Herald

            You’re homeless? Perhaps if you sold your computer you could afford to rent somewhere. Not Arlington, of course, but somewhere.

          • doodly

            I don’t have a computer – I’m in the public library, where I live during the day. At night I sleep on Kev’s doorstep and wait for him to come out in the morning to pounce on him or molest his children.

          • doodly

            Sure you weren’t.

          • KalashniKEV

            Key word being “singling out.”

            Due to our location, the greatest terror threat we face as a community remains Militant Islam.

            …that doesn’t mean a crusading Christian Jihadi won’t blow up Pentagon Metro, or the Chinese Government won’t commit cyber-crime on our businesses, or MS-13 won’t terrorize our community.

            I readily admit that I was “had” by the Mujaheddin Boogeyman on Friday. I think we all were.

            We can only allocate resources intelligently based on our perception of the threat. I think our eyes were opened by the attack in Norway and I believe we will be safer for it.

            Terror comes in more than one flavor.

          • doodly

            “I readily admit that I was “had” by the Mujaheddin Boogeyman on Friday. I think we all were.”

            I wasn’t. I don’t base my security on vague assumptions. My eyes were already open.

            Of course our number one threat is radical Islam, and those who may be part of that should face greater scrutiny. But you can only take that so far, or you’ll get burned. You can’t assume everyone else is harmless, and you can’t assume all Muslims are suspect either.

            Good advice in general, not just when it comes to Muslims or security. Wink.

          • KalashniKEV

            Are you winking at me, sailor?

            Wanna go on a date to Rabbit tonight?

          • Josh S

            I guess it depends on what kind of threat you are talking about. MIlitant Islam has zero chance of actually threatening the existence of the United States. As far as threats to my person, or those who I care about, I’m fairly confident that I have a much better chance of being hit by a bus than being harmed by terrorists. As far as threats to the community, I think thunderstorms, bank robbers and, again, irresponsible operators of moving vehicles probably pose the biggest threats.
            Not saying we shouldn’t be aware of the threat posed by militant Islam, just saying it needs to be put in context.

          • doodly

            Only if you’re buying. That place is expensive.

          • KalashniKEV

            I’m going for free. 🙂

          • Bluemontsince1961

            LOL! Dudes, get a room already!

          • Maria

            Where’s the local YMCA?

        • Jack

          Not funny, jerk.

      • doodly

        Du virkelig trenger terapi.

  • VA Redneck

    This here is VIRGINIA jack!!!! Speaka da Englisha

    • doodly

      yeah. Not no foreign language from Europe.

      • Eponymous Coward

        I’m assuming Redneck’s comment is a satirical one.

        Most of the immigrants I know speak their second language better than some Virginians speak their only language. I find I sometimes agree with people who advocate Official English policies only because they’re precisely the people whose English I can never understand. If we had an Official English policy, we might finally force people who believe “jain’t” is a proper contraction to learn the English language.

        They live here, after all; they ought to. 😉

        • Webster

          I heard two inner-city youths on the metrobus having a long conversation about running about with their friends and being chased by people with guns. It was both the most insane story and told in the most ridiculous butchering of English, I had to activate my phone’s recorder to save it for posterity. It will make you fear for our society’s future.

          • ZoningVictim

            Not as much as watching C-SPAN will.

    • steve85

      So I guess its ok to say “redneck” on here. What kind of site is this

      • ZoningVictim

        The kind you don’t own. Web hosting is really cheap these days…. And what’s wrong with the term redneck? I don’t find it offensive and neither do any of the other rednecks I know.

        • steve85

          That term is a term can be used a an offensive term. I thought that we wouldn’t use terms like that being that we are in an urban enviroment. If other demographics use that term than it can be offensive. How about that term should not be used for public comments like other names that can be offensive to other people

          • Black Man

            thats true

      • Rick

        As a redneck, I take no offense to the term being thrown around. Please don’t confuse us with white trash though.

  • Lacey Forest

    Actually, regarding foreign languages, studies are showing that the traditional patterns are still holding: first generation immigrants pretty much know only their native language, even for as long as they live here; their children are bilingual; their children speak English with little function in the original language. Personally, I see that in my friends whose parents or grandparents were the first to immigrate.

    • ZoningVictim

      That’s very interesting to me since a lot of the people I work with are 1st generation Russian or from one of the countries in Eastern Asia and the Indies, and they all speak English pretty well with one exception.

      One Russian guy I work with came here and didn’t speak any English at all. Ten years later and with no training, you’d never know he didn’t study it in school from the time he was a child. He writes better emails than a lot of college graduates.

      • doodly

        You work with Vladimir Nabakov?

  • DY

    How about recruiting bi-lingual police officers?

    • KalashniKEV

      That would be a good idea, though I’m sure their corrupt union would demand a special pay incentive… this idea is free and gets the community involved with police.

  • Louise

    What a great program. Many of our immigrants come from countries with corrupt police forces, so they may not be used to knowing they should trust the police. Having someone they can talk to when they need to report a crime, etc., should help our police to better reach immigrant communities and assist those in need. Go APD!

  • Mayor McCheese

    I really wish McDonald’s would seek out some bilingual help so that I can actually have an order taker understand me when I order in English.

    Me gustaría tener un Big Mac, papas fritas medianas, y una pequeña de Coca-Cola por favor.

    • SSRS

      a “little of Coca-Cola please”!

    • Bluemontsince1961


  • Porky

    I speak Pig Latin – is that helpful?

  • yep

    So now the cops want me to do their job for them, and, on top of it, not get paid?

  • free work for police lol that nice.

    Free work for police lol even better.

  • As a retired law enforcement officer who is fluent in Spanish, I contacted the Arlington PD to volunteer my time, thinking it would be a good way to help out the community. However, they told me that since I am not a resident of Arlington county or a “friend or guest of an APD employee”, they did not want my help. Apparently they are drowning in volunteers.

  • Fluency is not necessary, just the ability to say “we’re diverse and inclusive and we know you’re illegal so we’re going to cut you loose and warn you to stay out of sight so the feds don’t come and ‘Secure’ our Community.”


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