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#3439: Ft. Lauderdale to hire Haitian police liaison - FWD (fwd)
Ft. Lauderdale to hire Haitian police liaison
BY BRAD BENNETT
As soon as next month, Fort Lauderdale may hire a person who speaks Creole
and English to improve relations between police and the city's growing
``That person will be out in the community, able to translate and answer a
lot of questions for you,'' Capt. Paul Kiley told about 85 members of the
city's Creole-speaking community at the city's fourth Haitian Town Hall
With the help of translators, police opened the floor to the Haitian
community to discuss topics that included policing in the community, career
opportunities for Haitians in the police department, and overcoming the
language barrier when dialing 911.
But the key topic of discussion Tuesday was the hiring of a Haitian liaison.
The 1990 Census placed the number of people of Haitian ancestry at 23,221 in
Broward. Haitian leaders, however, say the number may now be as high as
100,000. That estimate is based on the number of people to whom they provide
immigration, translation and other services, according to the Minority
Development & Empowerment Inc./Haitian Community Center of Broward County.
But right now, just one officer of the approximately 500 on the Fort
Lauderdale police force speaks Creole.
Police said they have narrowed a field of dozens of applicants down to about
11, and will conduct interviews in early May to find the right person for the
The job will be a civilian position, paying about $30,300 annually.
``I'm glad to see that we're continuing the dialogue,'' City Manager Floyd
Johnson told the group. ``The city of Fort Lauderdale is committed to
providing the highest level of service to every member of our community.'
Henri-Claude Marcellus, a Fort Lauderdale resident and member of the Haitian
press who said he broadcasts live on the Internet at wrci2000.com, said the
city promised last year at a similar meeting it would soon be hiring a
``What did you do from last time to this time?'' Marcellus asked.
Police said they have been trying to find someone who can pass a written test
for the position in English, as well as pass all the criminal background and
drug screening tests.
``It's very difficult,'' said Alisa Cappuzzello, project director of the
community policing center. ``We're trying to get people from Haitian
backgrounds. Sometimes they can't pass the written test.''