Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office now writing Facebook posts in English and Spanish

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PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- In the middle of the national conversation about immigration and border security, a southern Kentucky sheriff’s office is taking action to be more inclusive.

The lunch rush in somerset might look a little thinner than in Lexington or Louisville, but thee gourmands at Casa Grande in Somerset say they love the food.

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One of the team members behind the tacos and fajitas is second generation Mexican American Leticia Castaneda.

Five minutes away, in the Pulaski County Sheriff’s office, it’s people like Castaneda and her coworkers major Jeff Hancock was thinking about when he posted a typical crime update on Facebook, but in Spanish.

“I wanted to be inclusive,” Hancock said.

For at least four years now, the sheriff’s office has been posting on Facebook, as many do these days, but usually it’s just in English.

“One day I was just thinking about you now we do these press releases. We do them in English. We put them on our Facebook page. Why not reach out to the Spanish population?” Hancock said.

“I think that is good that they’re trying to reach out,” Castaneda said.

She says she thinks the posts could help build a better relationship between police and the county’s Hispanic community, especially anyone undocumented who worries police could turn them over to ice.

“They’re trying to make it seem like they’re not the enemies,” Castaneda said.

There’s just one potential problem.

“Hopefully, it’s correct,” Hancock laughed.

Hopefully, it’s correct because Major Hancock doesn’t speak Spanish.

“Number one at Taco Bell or ask for the number two special, that’s about as good as I get,” he joked.

He’s been using an online translator.

“I put a lot of faith in Google,” he said.

He’s so passionate about reaching out to an under served community he put aside the potential embarrassment that comes with not knowing a language, and he’s dealing with some who disagree entirely with what he’s doing.

On one post, for example, a man writes, “This is America. Shouldn’t have to translate this to know what’s going on.”

Hancock says he appreciates everyone’s right to an opinion, but he intends to keep going because he thinks it’s in the best interest of everyone’s safety.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!