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Tulsa Police has Shortage of Hispanic Officers

KWGS News-File photo

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Tulsa Police Department is struggling to match the diversity the city is experiencing due to a growing Hispanic population.

Jesse Guardiola, the department's Hispanic outreach coordinator, says only 28 of the department's 762 officers are classified as "Spanish speakers." Guardiola says there are only 22 Hispanic officers on the entire force, so it's impossible to send someone who speaks Spanish to every call that needs one.

The Tulsa World reports that in 2000, there were fewer than 30,000 documented Hispanics in Tulsa. Today, there are nearly 60,000. And, Guardiola says, if you add in the number of Hispanics in the state illegally, that total rises to about 80,000.

Guardiola says that to match the growth in the city's Hispanic population, the department needs to add 90 Hispanic officers.