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Justice Department Says Pasco Needs More Diversity On Its Police Force

Anna King
Northwest News Network
Pasco Police Department officers support their chief as the U.S. Department of Justice releases its new report at a press conference Monday.

The police department in Pasco, Washington, needs to hire more women, more Spanish speakers and have more diversity in general. That’s one finding of a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice that was prompted by the February 2015 shooting of farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes by three Pasco police officers.

Pasco is more than half Hispanic, but its police force doesn’t reflect that. According to the 65-page report released Monday, Pasco also needs to better train its officers on use of force.

But Heliodora Morfin, of Pasco, asked officials why the report wasn’t available in Spanish.

“Whether it’s Spanish or Russian or whatever language, that everybody gets the information at the same time,” Morfin said. “That’s would be reasonable to me that that could be available to them.”

At a press conference, city managers said they are tying-into the community better by having events like “Coffee With A Cop” at local McDonald’s and by getting cops into satellite offices.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.