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.
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.