St. Cloud Police Department Using Technology to Break Language Barrier
ST. CLOUD – The St. Cloud Police Department has a new tool to help communication with residents who speak different languages.
The technology is a hands free, mobile interpretation unit, called ELSA. It provides immediate communication in 180 different languages. The unit is about the size of a cell phone, and can be clipped to the officer’s shirt.
The department currently has four of these units.
The company also provides a live telephone support line that officers can call and access the same services, in the event that a portable device is not available, or the officer on the scene needs an immediate translation.
The device has a per minute charge, as well as a monthly fee for service.
St. Cloud Police Sergeant Jason Burke says the department has only had the technology for a week, and they’ve already been utilized in three different calls for service. They helped officers communicate to solve a juvenile issue in Spanish, complete a domestic assault investigation in Oromo, and assisted Gold Cross with delivering a baby in Somali.