Chief Greg Eyler says it's a way to reach out to these citizens.
Hispanic and Latino citizens in Thurmont are invited to a public meeting on Thursday night. It's being hosted by the Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler. "I think it's important to open up the lines of communication with this community, really to build the trust in the Thurmont Police Department and the government in itself," he says.
The meeting will be held at the Thurmont Regional Library at 76 East Moser Road from 6:30 PM until 8:00 PM.
Chief Eyler says this trust is crucial, especially when it comes to law enforcement in the town. "There is information out there in town--I'm strictly talking about Thurmont--that could be given to us to either solve crimes or help certain victims and so forth, and we're not getting that information because the Hispanic and Latino community do want to talk to the police," he says.
The Chief says many of these Hispanic and Latino immigrants come from countries where they don't trust the police, and they bring that distrust to the US. But Eyler doesn't want the population to fear the police. "If we open this communication gap, or bridge it as I said, I think it's going to help the Police Department to be more effective, and it's going to build that trust in the community, and I think everybody's going to have confidence in us."
Citing the 2010 Census, Chief Eyler says Hispanic and Latino citizens make up 2.4% of Thurmont's population. But he says that doesn't matter when it comes to law enforcement. "We protect everybody who comes into town, citizens, criminals. We still have to protect them because they have their rights," he says. "And I think it's important to open it up to everybody, and that's what I'm going to try to do."
Even if no one shows up for Thursday's meeting, Eyler says he will still keep trying to connect with the local Hispanic and Latino population. "I'll will continue to try and build this trust with them and open that line of communication," he says.