Breaking Barriers and Fostering Inclusion: Long Prairie Police Force Welcomes First Hispanic Members
Thursday, December 28, 2023
In a historic move, the Long Prairie Police Department marked a significant milestone one year ago by welcoming Officer Joseph Rivera Robles and, more recently, Officer Melissa Morazan. This marks the first instance of Hispanic individuals joining the esteemed ranks of the Long Prairie Police, a development that Chief Ryan Hanson recognizes as a meaningful step forward in the department's 23-year history.
Bridging Communities Through Service
For Officer Melissa Morazan, joining law enforcement wasn't merely a career choice but a commitment to work closely with the community. Expressing her motivation, she emphasized the positive impact she aims to make alongside her fellow officers, emphasizing the importance of collaboration with the local neighborhood. “As a law enforcement professional, I can take pride and satisfaction in my work, helping to keep society safe and helping those responsible for crimes be accountable for their actions,” Morazan says.
A Catalyst for Positive Change
Joseph Rivera Robles and Melissa Morazan bring unique qualities and perspectives to the Long Prairie Police Department. Chief Hanson expresses his happiness and pride in their recruitment, underlining the diverse backgrounds they represent. Joseph's life experience, hailing from Puerto Rico, and Melissa's local roots and youthfulness contribute to a dynamic team that can better connect with the various age groups within the community.
Bilingual Advantage for Enhanced Community Relations
One remarkable aspect of this new chapter is the bilingual proficiency of both officers. Chief Hanson acknowledges the significant impact of their ability to communicate in English and Spanish. Officer Joseph Rivera Robles highlights the positive reactions from the community, especially those who speak Spanish. This linguistic connection fosters a sense of respect and understanding, as community members feel heard and acknowledged.
In choosing law enforcement as a career, Joseph Rivera Robles was drawn to helping others. “I choose Law Enforcement as a career because I’ve always been interested in being able to help other people,” Joseph said. “In Puerto Rico, where I resided before, I was more interested in a career with the federal government, but when I moved to Minnesota and interacted with officers, it made me consider being an officer.” The presence of officers like Joseph and Melissa, who bring a deep appreciation for diverse cultures, is anticipated to enhance the police force's understanding of the community it serves.
Chief Hanson's Vision for Inclusive Policing
Chief Hanson is optimistic about Joseph and Melissa's impact during their careers. He envisions them bringing a new outlook and understanding of the various cultures that call Long Prairie home. Their bilingual and diverse perspectives are valuable assets, furthering the department's commitment to inclusivity and community-oriented policing.
The inclusion of Officer Joseph Rivera Robles and Officer Melissa Morazan signifies not only a historic moment for the Long Prairie Police Department but also a step towards a more diverse, inclusive, and community-centric approach to law enforcement. As these officers break barriers, they pave the way for a more connected and understanding relationship between the police force and the vibrant Long Prairie community.**
(** Details from La Voz Libre - Article written by Jennie Zeitler, translated and proofread by Rocio Fernandez-Lugo)