COLUMBUS (June 8, 2005) — The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) has announced several new initiatives to aid law enforcement and other criminal justice related organizations in working with Ohio’s increasing non-English speaking communities.

  • I Speak: Language Identification Guide: Small enough to fit in a pocket or glove compartment, this language identification guide is a tool for law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies to identify the language of individuals they encounter who do not speak English. Printed just weeks ago, requests for this guide have already been received from law enforcement and other criminal justice organizations nationwide, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • Effective Strategies for a Limited English Proficient (LEP) Community: This conference, sponsored by OCJS, will help law enforcement learn to successfully serve and protect all populations within their community. The conference will be held August 31 at the new Columbus Division of Police Training Academy. Conference speaker, Isabel Framer, is an Oregon and Tennessee State Court Certified Judiciary Interpreter. She currently serves on the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Interpreter Services and on the Board for the Racial Fairness Report Project, Cleveland Ohio.

  • Survival Spanish Training Courses: OCJS will sponsor four two-day Survival Spanish courses for law enforcement and other criminal justice partners in Ohio in July and August. The courses will be conducted in counties with high Hispanic populations (Franklin, Defiance, Lorain and Montgomery), and will be offered free of charge. The course will include basic Spanish skills, suggestions when utilizing an interpreter and legal issues related to using an interpreter.

    “This is a very exciting time for Ohio.” OCJS Director Karen Huey stated, “Our communities are becoming increasingly culturally diverse, but with that comes responsibility by Ohio leaders to ensure law enforcement, courts, corrections, shelters and other criminal justice related organizations can properly communicate with these diverse communities. OCJS is proud to lead law enforcement and other organizations in taking these crucial steps. ”

    Deputy Chief John Rockwell, Columbus Division of Police, stated, “The Columbus Division of Police is now dealing with a very diverse population. In dealing with various ethnicities, it is critical that our officers communicate effectively not only with victims of crime, but suspects as well. This assures that the rights of all individuals are protected and the integrity of investigations is assured. The I Speak Language Identification Guide provided by OCJS is an outstanding tool for this purpose.”

    Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander stated, "It is vital that all law enforcement be prepared and trained to deal with Limited English Proficient persons. I am proud of the model protocol Summit and Lorain counties helped develop, which will be highlighted at the LEP Conference in August.”

    OCJS is the lead justice planning and assistance agency for the state. Through its research, technology, grants administration and programmatic initiatives, OCJS serves agencies and communities committed to reducing and preventing crime across Ohio. OCJS administers over $30 million dollars in state and federal criminal justice funding every year, and also identifies justice issues; evaluates programs, and develops technology, training and products for criminal justice professionals and communities.

    Contact: Erin O’Donnell, OCJS, 614/466.1830 or Additional information on all three initiatives can be found at