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San Gabriel Valley police officers learning Chinese

While language classes aren't a formal part of police training in Alhambra and Monterey Park, police officers have been learning Chinese, World Journal (世界日報) reports. Officers in the San Gabriel Valley know conversational Mandarin and Cantonese through daily interactions with the area's growing Chinese population.

Two Monterey Park police officers pulled over Kathy Xu, a Chinese resident who did not fully stop at a stop sign. Xu couldn't speak English fluently and had difficulty communicating. But she was surprised when one of the officers said "qianzi", which means “sign your name” in Mandarin. Xu thought the police officer had received training in Chinese in order to communicate with non-English speakers.

But Monterey Park Sgt. Dave Elliott told World Journal that the police department does not teach officers Chinese. Each police officer received a booklet with simple words in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai to make communication easier. Alhambra Sgt. Gerald Johnson said that many Alhambra police officers know conversational Chinese through daily interaction with Chinese residents. Some of them can even speak different dialects.

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