For the past two weeks Walt Melnyk with Bryan Police has been in Cuerna Vaca, Mexico. But he wasn't on vacation; he was there on official BPD business as part of the emersion program.
"What the emersion program does that most programs don't is they bring the concept of culture," said Chief Mike Strope, Bryan Police Department.
Melnyk and Chief Strope both agree the training was needed because it will help the department understand how to break down communication barriers they have with the Hispanic community, the fastest growing ethnic group in Bryan.
"If we don't have a way to openly communicate with that portion of our community then we're doing a disservice to those citizens," said Walt Melnyk, Bryan Police Department.
"Language and culture are two barriers that prevent us from doing a top notch job," said Chief Strope.
To send one officer to Mexico comes with a price tag of $1,500, but Chief Strope says the benefits far out weigh the costs.
"What each officer brings back and can bring back to the organization and the community far outweighs the cost of the program," said Chief Strope.
"Language training is one thing but you can get that anywhere, the culture is something completely different. It's not something you can get here in the United States it is something you can pretty much only get in that environment," said Melnyk.
Melnyk was the first officer from BPD to go to Mexico for the program, but he won't be the last.
"We're looking at three officers per year each officer undergoing a two week course," said Strope.
The department says they want to stay abreast of the needs of the community and this training program is just one way they plan to make that happen.
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