Tacoma police are using a translator app to help during emergency calls

Tacoma police officers are using a tool, which will give them access to translators for hundreds of languages, to assist during emergency responses.

In an emergency, getting information quick is vital. When responding officers and the caller do not speak the same language, it creates challenges.

In the past, officers used neighbors or even family members, like kids, to translate.

"A lot of these people are experiencing domestic violence, they may have been sexually assaulted, or they may be some other victim of a crime and we certainly don’t want children to have to interpret for something like this," said Lydia Zepeda.

Zepeda is with the Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. The commission worked with the Tacoma Police Department to introduce a better way for officers to help people in crisis.

RELATED: King County Sheriff's Office launches new app aimed at easing public access to alerts, information

Now, all officers have access to Language Line Solutions, a translator app on their phones.

"Language Line {Solutions} allows the Tacoma Police Department to offer equitable services to all members of the community," said officer Wendy Haddow with the Tacoma Police Department.

The app offers translators for 240 different languages with voice options, and for some languages, video chat options.

When you open the app, you can scroll or use the search feature to find the language you are looking for.

"This app is really, really important" said Zepeda. 

She says this new tool, gives people going through an emergency an easier way to be heard, and get the help they need. She says it also protects children from having to be involved.

"It minimizes trauma," she said.

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