Thursday, May 1, 2014
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s Latino Officer Outreach Program (L.O.O.P.) will relaunch at this year’s Cinco De Mayo Festival, happening Sat., May 3, noon-8 p.m. at Lake Mayer Park on Montgomery Cross Road.
The festival is a collaboration between community outreach organizations, including: the Latino Coalition of Savannah and Youth for a Cleaner Environment (YFACE). It will feature an hour-long presentation of SCMPD’s K-9, Mounted Patrol and motorcycle units beginning at 3 p.m. L.O.O.P. representatives also will participate in a public safety panel discussion from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will include music, dancing and games. It is free and open to the public.
“The Cinco De Mayo Festival is the perfect opportunity for Metro’s L.O.O.P. members to make our presence known to Chatham County’s native Spanish-speakers,” said coordinator, APO Enrique Marquez. “Our goal is to make all members of this community feel safe and included in every service offered by SCMPD.”
L.O.O.P is a specialized unit consisting of SCMPD officers volunteering their services to the Hispanic population. It was established in 2007, but dissipated through attrition and promotions.
"L.O.O.P. was created in response to the growing need for Spanish-speaking Metro officers to translate during violent crime investigations," police say. "While providing translation services, L.O.O.P participants also observed barriers in the cultural understanding between the Hispanic and public safety communities. L.O.O.P. seeks to remove these barriers through education and communication."
Currently, L.O.O.P. has 6 members.