New Language Access Program

People carrying flags in a parade

The “Overcoming Language Barriers in Policing and Building an Effective Language Access Program” includes resources and tools developed by the US Department of Justice’s Law Enforcement Language Access Initiative (LELAI) which can assist local and state law enforcement agencies in their efforts to provide meaningful language access to individuals with limited English proficiency within their jurisdiction.

An initiative led by the Civil Rights Division’s Federal Coordination and Compliance Section in partnership with US Attorneys’ offices, the resources review the legal obligation to provide language assistance services and offer promising practices for overcoming language barriers which can impact officer safety, public safety and the integrity of an investigation and prosecution.  

Specifically, the language access resources include the following:

  • Roadblocks to Communication Recorded Virtual Training Event which discusses the legal obligation to provide meaningful access to individuals with limited English proficiency; identifies and troubleshoots common translation and interpretation issues; and describes the appropriate use of tools and resources such as bilingual officers and machine translation.
  • Web Resources for Law Enforcement Officers provides sample language access plans, policies and forms; examples of language access settlement agreements; and other resources to help law enforcement draft, revise or adopt language access policies, plans and procedures.
  • LEP Resource Guide for Law Enforcement which includes guidance on strategies for law enforcement agencies to ensure language access, resources for obtaining language services and possible funding sources for law enforcement agencies.
  • FBI Advice of Rights Forms Translated in 40+ Languages, often referred to as the Miranda warning, is used by law enforcement to apprise subjects of their constitutional rights in various types of law enforcement interactions, including arrests and custodial interrogations. The form has been translated by FBI linguists into over 40 languages.
  • Letter to Law Enforcement from the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights which describes a law enforcement agency’s federal civil rights obligations to provide language assistance services to individuals with limited English proficiency. 

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