Working together for safety

Isaac Cruz is a rare story — a man who managed to rise above the corruption of the police in his home city, Mexico City, and become a police officer, working for the public good, in his adopted city of Pelham.

As more Hispanics immigrate to the United States, Cruz’s story will only become more common. We hope those like Cruz will be able to help build a bridge across the often-contentious divide that currently separates law enforcement and the Hispanic community.

In reporter Katie Hurst’s story, “Building Trust,” Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry said many in the Hispanic community don’t trust the police — a fact underscored, Curry said, by immigrants’ refusal to speak with police officers or by decisions to handle situations better left to law enforcement.

We urge local Hispanic advocacy groups to encourage immigrants to work with the police when necessary. Like Curry, we are concerned about the possibility of gangs infiltrating Shelby County, especially if local immigrants insist on taking matters into their own hands rather than working with local police.

We also urge our local police departments and the sheriff’s office to stay patient with this growing community. Stories such as Cruz’s show us that Hispanics and law enforcement can work together, but only if both sides show sensitivity to what the other is facing. Both want the same thing — the ability to keep families safe. Together, they can make that happen.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.