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Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs working with law enforcement to build trust within Hispanic community

Posted at 5:42 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 09:48:07-04

MAGIC VALLEY — The Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs (ICHA) says a majority of incidents go unreported by the Hispanic and Latino community, and most of it is for fear of deportation or lack of trust within law enforcement.

“One of the areas that’s really gone unreported, and this is all based on data, is domestic violence when it comes to the Hispanic population, that’s highly unreported," said Margie Gonzalez, executive director of ICHA.

But that's an issue ICHA is trying to tackle by partnering with local law enforcement to create a conversation on how to build more trust within the Hispanic and Latino community.

“When we started having conversations with law enforcement, it’s really to try and provide them with resources and try to help them understand the Hispanic community because we are the largest and the fastest-growing statewide,” Gonzalez said.

“One of the areas that’s really gone unreported, and this is all based on data, is domestic violence when it comes to the Hispanic population that’s highly unreported," Gonzalez said.

ICHA started these efforts last year, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, the organization was not able to hold events in person. Now, with restrictions loosening up, ICHA will host its first in-person event on May 27 in Idaho Falls.

They say this event, which includes workshops on a variety of topics, was a year in the making.

“One of the main topics is going to be implicit bias, but we’ll also be touching on cultural sensitivity and working with communities of color, but one of the main topics is implicit bias," Gonzalez said.

“We learned a lot about communication differences between different cultures. We learned a lot about making those connections before a major incident would arise," Kingsbury said.

The event will include multiple speakers from around the country. They say their hope is for as many first responders statewide to be able to participate. The event will be held in person as well as online.

The organization worked with the Twin Falls Police Department to come up with resources to build that trust within the Hispanic and Latino community.

Twin Falls Police Chief Craig Kingsbury said since working with ICHA on this issue, they have worked with the College of Southern Idaho to offer diversity training to police officers.

“We learned a lot about communication differences between different cultures. We learned a lot about making those connections before a major incident would arise," Kingsbury said.

To learn more about ICHA's event, you can visit their website.