An NYPD officer has been reprimanded after violating a rule of which many police officers are aware.
Jessenia Guzman was issued a “memo of reprimand” after she was caught speaking Spanish while on duty. Guzman said she was written up on May 14 for uttering a single sentence in Spanish.
“It was just natural,” Guzman said. “She walked by. She was going to get coffee. She said something. I responded [in Spanish]. That was it.”
The exchange was so trivial that Guzman hardly even remembered it. Hours later, she was called into her supervisor’s office and given the reprimand. It said she was “required to communicate department business in the language of English,” The New York Daily News reported.
“This policy is in place to allow proper supervision of personnel,” the memo reads.
One in three NYPD officers is Hispanic. The department defended its policy on Sunday.
“We’re a 24/7 operation,” said NYPD spokeswoman, Inspector Kim Royster. “We should be speaking one voice, which is English.”
Anthony Miranda, chairman of the National Latino Officers, said that situations like this used to be something officers joked about. He is starting to lose his sense of humor about the issue.
“It used to be a joke, when white supervisors went around and said, ‘Hey, speak English,’” Miranda said. “Now they’ve made it a rule.”
According to a 2009 NYPD internal newsletter, department employees are required to “speak English while they are conducting business for the department unless speaking a foreign language is a necessary component to performing their duties and responsibilities.”
Photo: NY Mag