IMPD event reaches out to newcomers, immigrant communities

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is reaching out to immigrant communities who are new to Indianapolis.

An event hosted Thursday evening at IMPD’s east district headquarters will focus on continuing conversations between the police department and diverse communities, as well as educating newcomers.

The event is open to everyone, and is put on with the Immigrant Welcome Center.

“This kind of event opens a bridge to the community, to understanding their [police officers] role better, and to understanding that they are human beings like us, and face the same challenges as us. This kind of event opens a window,” said Anita Trigoso-Kukulski, the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for Children’s Bureau, Inc.

Whether it’s the Latino community, the Sikh community, any refugees or newcomers, those representing diverse communities say often times the rules and laws of their culture – or even how police departments work – aren’t the same as they are in Indianapolis.

“It is important to know the law, or drive by the law. The rules here are different than they are in other countries,” said Pauline Sadek, Program Director for the Immigrant Welcome Center.

“I came here to take a tour, and the police officers were so kind and nice. It changed the way I see police officers, how they work, and why they do what they do.”

Officers hope to teach members of the community more about traffic stops, and the responsibilities of a police officer who arrives if you call 911.

“This allows them to establish a relationship with the officer, or a community prosecutor or detective. And I think it gives us the opportunity to learn from them, as we shape public safety policy,” said IMPD Asst. Chief James Waters.

“It helps us to educate them on what we do, why we do it and to see that we’re actually real people,” said Officer Candi Perry with IMPD’s East District. “We genuinely care.”

Officer Perry personally went to one Sikh community to invite them to the event Thursday evening, after a discussion with one of the interns working with the Department of Homeland Security.

“In my culture, you don’t look straight, at eye-level, at another person, because that’s disrespectful, especially if you’re talking to someone older. In our American culture, you look at someone in the eye because that means you’re paying attention,” explained Manpreet Kaur. “Every culture is different, so this is important.”

Thursday’s event is open to anyone who’d like to learn more, immigrant and non-immigrant members of the community. IMPD will host a tour of the east district, and you can meet officers, detectives and a prosecutor. The event is from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at IMPD east district headquarters, located at 201 N. Shadeland Avenue. Head into Entrance 1.

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