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Oakland’s new police chief announced with the mayor the city’s plans to create two new positions to build connections with non-English-speaking communities.

The plan includes two new police liaisons for the two largest non-English-speaking communities in the city in Chinatown and Fruitvale. Once filled, these positions will report directly to Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong.

Armstrong said:

“When I was sworn in last week, I pledged to the Oakland community that OPD would protect and serve, reduce crime and build trusting relationships in our community.”

The chief continued:

“The liaison’s role is designed to bridge cultural gaps and language barriers, open the channels of communication, work together to build trusting relationships, and increase community safety.”

Armstrong said the positions were created in part in response to Chinatown residents being targeted for crimes against them based on perceived race or nationality. These neighborhood-based positions will join other police liaisons for the African American, LGBTQ+ and Muslim communities.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf also pledged to fast-track grants for additional security cameras for Chinatown and announced a $30,000 private grant to the Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay.

The city’s announcement also included expressions of support from community leaders for these measures.

Carl Chan, of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said:

“We appreciate the creation of this dedicated resource for Chinatown and our Chinese-speaking residents, particularly our seniors.”

Unity Council CEO Chris Iglesias said:

“Having a dedicated Spanish-speaking officer in Fruitvale, along with Oakland’s sanctuary policies, will increase our Spanish-speaking residents’ sense of safety.”

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