UPDATE: FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Police are re-examining the way they communicate with Fort Wayne's growing Burmese population following a hit-and-run accident that killed a 16-month-old boy.
Raquel Foster with the Fort Wayne Police Department says a language barrier resulted in a delay gathering and relaying information about the incident at Brendonwood Park Apartments Sunday night.
"Is it possible there was a delay? Yes. It's very possible. Any time you have a communication barrier, you're going to have a delay. What the primary concern was at that time was rendering medical attention and there was no delay in that."
Foster says the moment police officers were dispatched to an "unknown problem" at the apartments on Fayette Drive, medical teams were also in route.
In addition to addressing the child's injuries, officers and other first responders also had to take their safety into consideration - something that could have been difficult to access without a way to communicate with witnesses.
In cases where communication is a challenge, Foster says police first try to find an officer who is familiar with the language being spoken. At this time, no one with the Fort Wayne Police Department speaks Burmese. As a result, officers refer to a list of possible translators at local churches, schools, and advocacy groups.
However, at this time, there are no liaisons specifically dedicated to communication between the Burmese population and Fort Wayne Police Department. Foster isn't ruling the idea out, though.
"It would benefit the Department. It would benefit the members of the community," says Foster. "It is something that we are exploring, because we always want to facilitate services more effectively and efficiently for the community. We do not have that in place at this time."
Anyone with any information about this case and/or the older model, black, four-door car witnesses say was seen leaving the scene of the hit-and-run, please contact Crime Stoppers at 436-STOP.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne Police continue to investigate why a Burmese toddler was playing alone in a parking lot before being run over.
It happened at the Brendonwood Park apartments on Fayette Drive. Police arrived just after 6 P.M. Sunday to find a 16-month old lying in the parking lot, unresponsive.
The child was rushed to a local hospital but did not survive.
Police say witnesses told them the toddler was struck by an older black 4-door car in bad shape that left the scene after the incident. They don't have any information on the driver.
The child was part of a Burmese family and police say language was a hindrance in their investigation. They initially believed the child had been hit by a grey van. But with help from a Burmese translator, officers later learned the driver of the van was the one who found the child.
Police say they doubt alcohol was a factor in this tragedy.
If you have any information about this tragedy please contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 436-STOP
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