The linguistic tapestry of the United States, especially in bustling metropolitan areas like Washington D.C., is both diverse and intricate. Serving a melting pot of cultures, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington D.C. is championing a fresh approach to better serve the city's residents and visitors, irrespective of their primary language.

Recent data underscores the linguistic diversity of Washington D.C. More than 1 in 4 residents of the D.C. Metro area primarily speaks a language other than English. With 168 languages spoken in the households of the D.C. metro area, the need for effective communication is more crucial than ever. 

This is where the LanguageLine Mobile Application steps in. Newly integrated into MPD’s in-field communication strategy, the LanguageLine app is designed to bridge the communication gap with the District’s Limited-English Proficient (LEP) and Non/No-English Proficient (NEP) individuals. 

Upholding the directives of the Language Access Act of 2004, the MPD's partnership with LanguageLine ensures that all individuals, regardless of their linguistic background, are treated with equity and understanding.

According to Imhotep Newsome, Program Manager of MPD’s Language Access Branch, the application's adaptation was a necessity, "Our members recognized the need for a quicker and more efficient way to contact LanguageLine, as our department averages about 5,000 calls per year to the line. The creation and development of the app for Samsung users was a collaborative effort between our Language Access Branch and LanguageLine.”

LanguageLine has been an instrumental partner of MPD for over two decades. While the LanguageLine app enhances accessibility, traditional means of reaching out through direct phone calls remain intact. The app, compatible with major mobile devices, ensures that language is no barrier when it comes to serving the public.

Chief of Police Peter Newsham emphasized the transformative impact of this integration.

“With the new LanguageLine app, we can remove language as a barrier to help better protect and serve every person in our city,” Newsham said. 

"Our collaboration with the Metropolitan Police Department is a testament to our commitment to fostering understanding in diverse communities,” LanguageLine President and CEO Scott W. Klein said. “ In a city as vibrant and varied as Washington D.C., our app is not just a tool but a bridge, connecting cultures and ensuring safety through understanding."

For first responders, police officers, and a myriad of other professionals, the LanguageLine app is proving to be invaluable. With its intuitive interface, easy deployment, and robust security features, the app ensures reliable access to certified interpreters around the clock. The app delivers, whether it's audio interpreting in over 240 languages or video interpreting in the top 40 languages, including American Sign Language and British Sign Language. 

For more information, please review the Metropolitan Police Department’s Language Access Program General Order here:

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