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Nassau authorities reach out to immigrant community for crime help

Nassau law enforcement officials are encouraging immigrants to come forward if they witness or are victims of crimes, reminding them that officials are fluent in several languages.

The initiative is to be introduced Monday by Nassau County's acting District Attorney Madeline Singas and acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.

Officials said they want to improve relations between law enforcement and a growing community of immigrants.

Spokesman Shams Tarek said the district attorney's office is increasing outreach to the immigrant community in an effort to remind immigrants that officials will not ask for witness' or victims' documentation statuses.

Officials also are reminding victims and witnesses that law enforcement officials are fluent in their languages, Tarek said.

Tarek said the office has tapped Silvia Pastor Finkelstein, an assistant district attorney, to become director of Immigrant Fraud Investigations, which will coordinate efforts and outreach.

Officials said in a news release that immigrants are generally "less likely to cooperate with law enforcement when they are the witnesses to crimes."

"This is often due to obstacles like language proficiency, elevated levels of trust between members of the same immigrant group, documentation status, or general unfamiliarity with or mistrust of law enforcement," the release stated.

Suffolk County Police Department officials said last year, following the arrest of a sergeant accused of targeting and stealing from Hispanic motorists, the Latino community should know that complaints are taken seriously.

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