Tulsa police officers stress importance of bilingualism


Danielle Wagner

Tulsa Police Officers David Medrano and Jesse Guardiola talk to WSU students about the role of the police. They discussed the benefits of bilingual officers.

Tulsa police officers Jesse Guardiola and David Medrano visited Wichita State to explain the importance of learning multiple languages, like Spanish, on Tuesday afternoon. 

People all over the U.S. struggle to speak English. The Tulsa Police Department has made it a goal to have officers who can interact and help these people. 

“The need for understanding two languages is vast,” Guardiola said. “The population that you’re going to help in this part of the country is growing, and need it.”

Guardiola started his career 26 years ago. Before Spanish-speaking police officers were more prevalent, Guardiola found that when civilians learned their police department had an officer who spoke Spanish, he was specifically asked for. 

In the mid-2000s, Guardiola started an outreach program inside his department for Spanish-speaking community members.

“Creating this outreach program led me to a point where I built a lot of relationships within the Hispanic-speaking community,” Guardiola said. “So much so that they trusted me.”

Medrano, a police officer of 4 years, has been exposed to a number of different experiences with the Tulsa police due to his ability to speak Spanish. Some of these included work with narcotics, interviewing a homicide suspect, and helping kids who don’t speak English.

“The reason I’m here is because I speak Spanish,” Medrano said. “To continue the good fight.”

The two officers answered questions interested students, including language majors, had.

“Whatever you guys decide to do with your degree,” Guardiola said, “I hope and pray that you’re able to apply yourself in a positive way.”

For more information about the Tulsa Police Department visit tulsapolice.org.