Although Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said that his new hate crimes commander is fluent in Spanish, Det. Lt. Stephen Hernandez admitted to county lawmakers last week he is “a little rusty” in the language.
Hernandez made the admission at the public safety committee's meeting after Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville, in photo, above) said he heard Hernandez used an interpreter at a meeting of Hispanic ministers in Brentwood.
“Growing up, Spanish was spoken in my house,” Hernandez said. ”Since my grandparents passed away, it is my second language so I am a bit rusty.” Hernandez added.
“I did use the interpreter that night. It was getting late and we would have been there all night if I tried to get through the whole thing in Spanish,” he said. Later, in an interview, Hernandez said while he is ”not fluent” in Spanish, he believes he speaks well enough to conduct an interview with hate crime victims who may not know English.