New app will allow instant translation for police in Burlington, Milton, Oakville

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Published November 30, 2023 at 2:59 pm

A new tool to allow police to communicate better with non-English speakers in Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills, is being adopted.

The Halton Police Board has signed a deal to adopt Language Interpreting Services Application (LISA), a web-based video and audio app that provides frontline officers 24/7-access to interpreters in more than 200 languages, including American Sign Language.

“Halton is the fastest growing region in the GTHA. In 2020, the population was 610,000, and by the end of this year it’s expected to have gained an additional 50,000 residents. By 2031, our Region is anticipated to be home to 820,000 people,” said a board spokesperson.

“As our community grows, it’s also becoming more diverse, with 17 per cent of residents speaking a language at home other than English or French, and more than 7,000 Halton residents reportedly unable to speak English or French, a 40 per cent increase since 2011.”

The Board believes providing frontline officers access to LISA will be a key step in helping develop trust and meaningful relationships with all members of the community.

When officers attend an incident but do not speak the same language as those involved, they have the opportunity to utilize the app to relay information instantly using secure access to professional certified translators and interpreters.

“Discovering innovative solutions to overcoming barriers within policing is always a top priority for our Service,” said Halton Regional Police Service, Superintendent Bob Gourley.

“The people and communities our officers are sworn to serve are evolving, and so too must our mentality and approach to policing. When we say we’re here for the community, we mean everybody. Having LISA available at any given moment will ensure our officers are better equipped to answer the call – regardless of who is making it.”

For more information on LISA, visit here.

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