Published June 24, 2013
An NYPD officer has reportedly been issued a “memo of reprimand” for speaking Spanish while on duty, violating an English-only workplace rule for cops.
The New York Daily News reports that NYPD Officer Jessenia Guzman said she was written up on May 14 for uttering a single sentence in Spanish. Guzman, 40, was operating the switchboard at the 24th Precinct stationhouse on the city’s Upper West Side when she responded to a colleague during a brief interaction.
“It was just natural,” the Bronx native told the newspaper. “She walked by. She was going to get coffee. She said something. I responded (in Spanish). That was it.”
Hours later, the 13-year veteran was reprimanded by a supervisor. It said Guzman was “required to communicate department business in the language of English,” according to a copy obtained by The News.
“This policy is in place to allow proper supervision of personnel,” the memo signed by Lt. Richard Khalaf read.
The NYPD defended the policy on Sunday.
“We’re a 24/7 operation,” said Inspector Kim Royster, an NYPD spokeswoman. “We should be speaking one voice, which is English.”
More than 50 languages are spoken by NYPD employees and 1 in 3 NYPD officers are Hispanic. But members of the department have 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,” according to a 2009 NYPD internal newsletter obtained by The News.