Public safety employees reach out to the community to build trust
To build trust between law enforcement and Hispanic community in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park, Sheriff’s Office Community Service Officer Dahlia Corona started a workshop series called “Nurturing Trust, With Family, With Community – Padres Unidos-Familias Seguras.”
“You’ll find that when there is a language barrier or a cultural barrier then there’s a disconnect between the police and the community,” Corona said.
The workshops focus on topics such as positive discipline, domestic violence and child abuse, bullying, drug prevention and leadership in the community, and the role that law enforcement plays in preventing negative outcomes and promoting positive ones.
Held every Thursday for five consecutive weeks and conducted in Spanish, the workshops foster communication and trust between families and police officers.
“When we do this we learn from each other and we create trust with the community when we explain how the police department works in specific subjects,” Corona said.
Corona said that the Shoreline Police and King County Sheriff’s Office wanted to ensure trust and show respect to the community it serves.
“Our goal is to create trust with the community and facilitate communication,” Corona said. “There has been a lot going on nationwide with distrust of the police, so our timing for launching this program was perfect.”
To get the word out for the first workshop rotation, Corona said she delivered flyers to local businesses and schools. The first workshop series, held in November 2014, was full with 32 attendants. The workshop was met with so much success, the current workshop filled by word of mouth and the next workshop already has 15 people on the waiting list.
“It was great to have these workshops and to see that the Shoreline Police supports the Hispanic community,” one participant said on their evaluation.
After attending all five classes, participants receive a certification of participation.
Since the Shoreline Police wanted to make sure the workshops were useful to participants, Dahlia and her colleagues included strategies to promote a healthy community like positive parenting techniques and how to detect and report domestic violence. Corona said for the class on bullying, they invited a mother and son to share their experience with bullying and how they overcame it.
Dahlia believes that many of the issues that young people are facing today could have been addressed and prevented during their crucial early years. “Including a Positive Discipline class at the beginning of the workshop series gives the participants tools to help themselves and their children prevent domestic violence, child abuse, drug use and other negative influences by developing a parent-child relationship of trust and mutual respect,” Dahlia said. “Talking about these issues without providing education and preventative strategies does nothing to solve the problems.”
“When people are informed and they know why we do things and how we do things, then we’re on the same page. We know what to expect from each other,” Corona said.