Survey Aims To Build Trust With Latinos And Medford PD

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Fri, November 22 2013 at 11:13 PM, Updated: Sat, November 23 2013 at 12:55 AM

30 men and women took a survey that they say hold the memory of 18-year-old Elias Ruiz.

"In a very real sense this is Elias' legacy," says Pam Lucas.

 Medford police shot and killed Elias Ruiz 2012. They say in self defense. The teen's mother had called 911 for help but police say Ruiz charged officers with a knife. 

And ever since, Pam Lucas with the Medford Multicultural Commission says there's been a rift between police and Medford's Latinos, 14 percent of the city's population. 

"I would like the police department to give us better support we want to feel safer with them," says Anahe Cervantes.

Friday, the Multicultural Commission and the Southern Oregon Education Service District called together a group of parents to fill out this survey.    

One of six survey sessions planned to try to bridge a gap. With questions for Latino parents like:

How safe do you feel in your community?  and Are you trusting of the Medford police department? Police say they're on board.

 "Hopefully the survey will actually explain that were not there only when bad things happen but we're here all the time and we don't just respond to the Latino community because there's something bad we respond to the Latino community to help them because they are also victims of crime," says Medford Deputy Chief Randy Sparciano.  

 Parents hope the survey will help the department better understand their needs. An understanding they hope will prevent situations like the tragic death of Elias Ruiz.

"I hope parents get enough information and hope they feel safer after this," says Maria Rodriguez.

Oregon Health and Sciences University of Ashland will be collecting data from the surveys to  determine a common theme. They hope to give the information back to the police department by next spring.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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