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Latinos-WVC police sign agreement

WEST VALLEY Utah (ABC 4 UTAH) - Police and Latino leaders are now on the same page when it comes to race relations.
WEST VALLEY Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Police and Latino community leaders has signed an agreement in an attempt to improve relations.
The agreement comes on the heels of several cases that leaders claim target Latinos in West Valley.

“We established a link with the West Valley police after a particularly ugly set of incidents," says Robert Archuleta representing the Utah Coalition of La Raza.

Most noticeably were scores of drug arrests by West Valley's narcotic squad.
The cases were dismissed by the district attorney because prosecutors claimed they were tainted.

“And that really brought about a crisis in the Latino community,” says Archuleta.

That's because a large percentage of those arrested were Latinos. Community leaders accused the department of racial profiling

“All of a sudden the distrust we had with the police department just deepened,” says Archuleta.

Archuleta and other Latino leaders met with the acting police chief and he says it's paid off. Both groups have signed an agreement to mend fences.

“They were willing to open doors and to make changes that will affect everyone,” he says.

Among the changes forged between police and the Latino community: cultural competency training for all city staff; on-line access to the citizen complaint form and translated into Spanish and Vietnamese and strengthen ties between police and Latino youth.
It's something Latinos in West Valley say is past due.

“A lot of people in he Latino community are scared to talk, scared to say things and with this situation, it's got to be great," says Alejandro Martinez.

And while Archuleta says this is a step in the right direction, those affected by the agreement want results.

“Hopefully this will lead to changes in the near future,” says Jesus Guillen. “But it's too early to tell.

Archuleta says the acting police chief will be hands on. He says she's assured Latino leaders that any complaint against the department will be reviewed by her.
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