LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- According to The New American Economy, Latinos make up 5 percent of Jefferson County's total population. The fastest growing minority group in Louisville, there were more than 36,000 Latinos in 2016, up from about 28,000 in 2010.

Because of that increase, new LMPD recruits are coming equipped with a new tool.

"We come across a lot of Spanish speakers on traffic stops on 911 calls, and we need to do a better job in communicating with them," said Rachel Arroyo-Phillips, a recruiter with LMPD.

So in addition to weapons and tactical training, new recruits also get hours of Spanish tutoring. About a dozen volunteers, all native speakers, held a three-day course this week teaching 47 recruits some of the basics.

They learn basic numbers, letters and phrases of language, Spanish culture, followed by investigative writing, which involves taking reporters and gathering information.

One of the recruits, Kirsten Black, said she knew very little Spanish before this week. But now, she said the class has made her better prepared.

"I wouldn't know anything if I had gone out without this little bit of training," she said. "I would be completely lost when it comes to certain things."

Afterward, recruits put all that training to the test and hit the streets.

"It's going to help you a lot on the streets," said Briauna Dean, an LMPD recruit. "You know basic steps on how to communicate, figure out descriptions of a suspect, descriptions of the victim.

"We went to find someone who was a native Spanish speaker, and we had to figure out how long they've been here ... why they came here and all the sorts. So it kind of helped us build a rapport with the community already."

LMPD holds three Spanish classes a year and has been doing so since 2004.

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