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Dispatch comms in language other than English

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mojobreakfast

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#1
US mainland dispatch comms in language other than English

Just a curious question. Are there places in the mainland US where common public safety dispatch (police, fire, EMS) communications are in a language other than English? A mix of English and another language? If so, where are they, and is this formally accepted? Asking because I've noted a local public service frequency using a mix of Spanish and English and this seems to be new, as I've monitored this for a while. The specifics aren't important and I don't have a problem with it as long as the job gets done, more than anything just wondering what anyone else has observed.

Note I am not talking about bilingual dispatchers who can talk to callers in a language other than English, I am talking about radio dispatch communications.

And a quick edit: yes, I know that the US does not have an official language.
 
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#2
Just a curious question. Are there places in the mainland US where common public safety dispatch (police, fire, EMS) communications are in a language other than English? A mix of English and another language? If so, where are they, and is this formally accepted? Asking because I've noted a local public service frequency using a mix of Spanish and English and this seems to be new, as I've monitored this for a while. The specifics aren't important and I don't have a problem with it as long as the job gets done, more than anything just wondering what anyone else has observed.

Note I am not talking about bilingual dispatchers who can talk to callers in a language other than English, I am talking about radio dispatch communications.

And a quick edit: yes, I know that the US does not have an official language.
Having traveled around the country and actually doing installation work in these PSAP / dispatch locations, I have never been in one that was not English only. With this said, there possibly could be places along the southern boarder region that might have bi lingual people on the force that will switch back and forth. This also means the dispatchers need to be the same and can speak the second language.

The same thing might happen along the northern boarder and you will get a mix of French.

You didn't give a hint where this is going on, so your probably not going to receive much feedback on the issue.
 

natedawg1604

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#3
I've never heard of it, however I frequently hear requests for Spanish-speaking officers to help on a particular call. In fact, I was even asked if I spoke Spanish during a ride-along.
 

ko6jw_2

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#4
Many years ago the Los Padres National Forest sold off some radio equipment that ended up in Mexico. The new user, a wholesale beer distributor, put the radios in service without any changes. Under good conditions they opened up repeaters in the LPNF. We learned that he Spanish word for 'over" is "cambio."
This caused real interference and took quite a while to fix. The Mexican government could not help as the new owner was operating legally in Mexico.

That's the only time I've ever heard anything other than English.
 
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#5
New Mexico State Police will rare have a few officers speaking a couple different native American languages on car to car if they are in a area they know nobody has knowledge to understood it and way it is spoken fast. Then car to car is simplex rarely repeated or microwaved. But a couple said it comes in handy when they know someone is listening and the individual has means of hearing. The few joke they have encryption already and you can't beat it in those areas. It did prove to be effective when used right time, right places.
 
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#7
Are we sure this is a Public Safety Operation ?
Many Frequencies, are now-a-days shared

What Frequency and Locality ? :confused:
Just a curious question. Are there places in the mainland US where common public safety dispatch (police, fire, EMS) communications are in a language other than English? A mix of English and another language? If so, where are they, and is this formally accepted? Asking because I've noted a local public service frequency using a mix of Spanish and English and this seems to be new, as I've monitored this for a while. The specifics aren't important and I don't have a problem with it as long as the job gets done, more than anything just wondering what anyone else has observed.

Note I am not talking about bilingual dispatchers who can talk to callers in a language other than English, I am talking about radio dispatch communications.

And a quick edit: yes, I know that the US does not have an official language.
 
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#8
I know that this isn't exactly what the OP was talking about, but I thought I'd mention it because it's unusual. I once heard an officer in the field who was trying to communicate with a person who spoke only Spanish. There were no available field officers who spoke Spanish, so the officer had his bilingual dispatcher ask the person questions in Spanish over the dispatch channel. The officer transmitted the person's answers back over the air, and then the dispatacher translated those answers back over the air for the officer.
 
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#9
Ditto at my location. In the past I've heard oracavon's scenario in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese. I was unaware that my city's dispatch center had dispatchers that spoke Chinese and Vietnamese, unless they "volunteered" some 911 call takers to do the translating.
 
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#10
And a quick edit: yes, I know that the US does not have an official language.
I don't think this is off-topic since you brought it up in your OP:
An FYI: While the US does not have an official language, it does have a primary language which is American English. It is required to be used on any official document (there are multi-lingual exceptions permitted.) Interestingly, 31 states have established American English as their official language. Aviation English is the de facto international language of civil aviation.

I have never heard a public safety agency speak anything other than English, though some don't speak it very well. :)
 
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#13
Ditto at my location. In the past I've heard oracavon's scenario in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese. I was unaware that my city's dispatch center had dispatchers that spoke Chinese and Vietnamese, unless they "volunteered" some 911 call takers to do the translating.
Some agencies or entities will pay employees of other departments to be on call for translation skills. They are given a test and if pass given a pay increase for it and noted to be on call. Know several agencies who pay any of its employees for this who takes the test and ops in to be a on call translator. From a court clerk to public works to a zoo keeper. If they speak Chinese and it's ideal they can be summoned pretty reasonably they'll be used. I have seen phone patches done between dispatch, the translator, and 911 caller before.
 
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#14
The responses were fairly quickly summoned, so I presume they already worked/were on duty in dispatch or the 911 call center, often on the other side of the room from the dispatchers.
 
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#15
AFAIK the only proper place to not use the lingua franca of the US, would be a dispatcher on an Indian Nation. Since they are sovereign nations, the FCC can go pound sand unless the tribes have consented to play nicer. (I don't know if they have.)

The first debate over an official language in the US was in Nieu Amsterdam. The choices were the Dutch of the original settlers, the Deutsch of the upscale German traders (German being the scholarly international trade language at the time) and the English of the new owners.

English won out. That's why New York and the other (mainly British) colonies all went English. Even if we speak "The King's English" and England speaks "The Queen's English". And asking if you can borrow a torch to check for some fa*s in the boot is likely to be, well, the wrong thing to say on this side of the pond. [I see the forum censor software doesn't speak proper British English, how quaint.]

As an Argentine friend of mine once said, in NYC, "That's not Spanish, that's Puerto Rican." He'd accept an argument as to whether "Spanish" meant Andalusian or Castilian, but "SudAmericano" just didn't make it in his book.

Somehow, the waves of Irish, Italians, Greeks, Cypriots, Poles, Swedes, Norwegians, and other displaced waves of immigrants all managed to learn English when they came here. And then there are great world powers like Belgium, where they can't agree to settle on one language.

Which is probably why air traffic controllers worldwide still use the language of the big commercial aviation power: US English. There might be better choices, but that's the standard, and for a reason.
 
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#16
I cant see public safety agencies using languages other then english over the air
As a matter of fact (i think) its actually against FCC rules to use any language other then english on the air
Not that it dosent happen - theres plenty of foreign speaking taxi and other businesses on the air but again im not positive if its against FCC rules or not

Which brings up another thing - not to get too off topic but i have actually seen FCC licenses registered to Puerto Rico which i didnt think FCC licenses really applied in places other then the actual States unless im missing something that PR is now a official state?...
ULS License - Public Safety Pool, Trunked License - KJW460 - PUERTO RICO, COMMONWEALTH OF
 
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#18
Would you please cite the CFR that states English only. ...:roll:

As to the FCC that handle the United States of America.
Even when I was in High School, Puerto Rico was still part of the United States of America

The FCC handles, US, US Teritories and Possessions.

Try an FCC Search on VI, AS, GU and MP

And until the OP returns (Not logged in since the OP) we won't know where/what he/she is referencing.

I cant see public safety agencies using languages other then english over the air
As a matter of fact (i think) its actually against FCC rules to use any language other then english on the air
Not that it dosent happen - theres plenty of foreign speaking taxi and other businesses on the air but again im not positive if its against FCC rules or not

Which brings up another thing - not to get too off topic but i have actually seen FCC licenses registered to Puerto Rico which i didnt think FCC licenses really applied in places other then the actual States unless im missing something that PR is now a official state?...
ULS License - Public Safety Pool, Trunked License - KJW460 - PUERTO RICO, COMMONWEALTH OF
 
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#19
Which brings up another thing - not to get too off topic but i have actually seen FCC licenses registered to Puerto Rico which i didnt think FCC licenses really applied in places other then the actual States unless im missing something that PR is now a official state?...
There is more to the US than the 50 states and DC. The federal government has jurisdiction in the territories and posessions too.
 
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#20
PR is not a state. Technically, it is a "Commonwealth" (although not at all the same as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) and the US government calls it an "insular possession", meaning "a place that belongs to us, which ain't a state or a District (as in D.C.)" but the bottom line is that it is a war prize, left over from the Spanish American War, I think.

As an insular possession it is ruled by US federal law, and domestic law as defined/limited by Congress. Among other things, "residents" of IP's can usually vote in federal elections, like for President, but they have no representation in the Senate, since they aren't "State" residents. And, usually have voted against full statehood or independence. FWIW.
 
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