Cultural Services Unit Created in Brooklyn Center
Within a group of 14 people on the lawn of the Brooklyn Center Fire Department, there is someone from Laos, Somalia and even Liberia.
They're going through water safety training. These folks have been chosen to assist public safety officials during an emergency.
Major Parker is from Liberia. His West African country has suffered from years of instability and conflict. In 10 years he's seen an increase of his people moving to Brooklyn Center.
"Looking at the situation back in Africa they are here to support their families," Parker said.
The increase in immigrants to the community has not gone unnoticed. To help the city better serve them, a multicultural unit was created. Everyone was handpicked and bi-lingual. They went through six weeks of training, three hours long. They learned field safety, psychological first-aid to disaster response and recovery to name a few.
"In case when a eventuality some emergency comes up in the community you can try to assist the police, not to be the police but help the police rescue lives," Parker said.
Monique Drier of the Brooklyn Center Police Department says, a great example is the May 22, 2011 Tornado that ravaged North Minneapolis. It eventually went through Brooklyn Center and fell apart in Anoka. She says, the groups vast language skills would have come in handy.
"There were not a lot of boots on the ground as far as English as a second language," she said.
Parker says, he is honored to be of service to his city.
"America is a beautiful place to live," he said.
Brooklyn Center was a test to see if the program could work. Since it has, Minneapolis is in the process of forming their own cultural services unit. They are in the middle of their application process and will start training soon.
If you are interested in CSU you can sign up by clicking here or call 651-789-4342.