Kansas City Police Department 911 call-takers handled 28,817 calls in the month of June 2021. Around 270 of those calls – or slightly less than 1 percent – came from citizens who do not speak English as their preferred language.
By working with LanguageLine Solutions, which in this case is contracted through the Mid-American Regional Council, KCPD 911 call-takers are able to bring an interpreter on the phone to assist with calls for service.
While KCPD has a small group of call-takers who are bilingual, LanguageLine is able to supplement them with on-demand interpretation in more than 240 languages. Even better, the service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
KCPD was an early adopter of interpretation services, using a solution like LanguageLine since the late 1980s.
Patrol officers and detectives also have access to the LanguageLine if they experience challenges due to language barriers in the field. They can reach LanguageLine by calling a dedicated toll-free number or via the LanguageLine app on any mobile device. The app requires just one touch to receive service in whatever language is needed.
This chart shows all of the calls that utilized LanguageLine from multiple law enforcement agencies in Missouri and Kansas for the month of June. Spanish is the most requested, followed by Swahili. (And no, “Karen” is not named after a person. It is a language that is mainly used in Thailand and is also known as S'gaw.)
“With a service like LanguageLine, we are happy to implement this resource to better serve the citizens of Kansas City and giving them comfortable access to emergency services,” the KCPD said in a recent statement.