“Minimizing Language & Cultural Roadblocks”is a one hour training broadcast that provides law enforcement officers with basic Spanish and other cultural language skills. During this broadcast two scenarios will prepare non-Spanish-speaking officers to use necessary Spanish compliance commands in order to handle busts, arrests, and searches and seizures associated with illegal drug activity.

    Learning Objectives:

  • Learn Spanish phrases to help officers and first responders:
  • Make arrests and ID individuals
  • Enter and search a premise
  • Carry out a street bust
  • Stop and search suspects
  • Locate drugs
  • Maintain control of suspects through voice commands
  • Obtain consent to search a vehicle
  • Interpret body language messages and identify potential dangers
  • Use Spanish drug terminology
  • Recognize offensive or threatening words
  • Find out important information about other cultures that can pose potential language barriers and miscommunication
  • See how a situation where a language barrier is a problem could quickly escalate and learn how to prevent it.
      Originally Aired: December 11, 2008


Lt. Bob Alfonso

Pinellas County, FL Sheriff’s Office

Lt. Bob Alfonso is a supervisor in the narcotics division with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Since his career began in 1982, he has been assigned to patrol, field training, narcotics, school resource officer, patrol supervisor and internal affairs. Bob has also been in narcotics since 1984 as an undercover investigator. Lt. Alfonso has also spent one year working as a police monitor for the United Nations Police Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lt. Alfonso is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Sgt. Darren Romero

Pinellas County, FL Sheriff’s Office

Sergeant Darren Romero has 24 years of dedicated service with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force and has worked in undercover narcotics, traffic enforcement and community policing. Sgt. Romero has also worked in patrol, selective traffic enforcement program, as a vice and narcotics detective, undercover, economic crimes detective, Cpl. and supervisor in the community policing unit as well as a patrol supervisor. Sgt. Romero is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Deputy Jon Lopes

Pinellas County, FL Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Jon Lopes has been with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida for 13 years and was also with the City of Dunedin Police Department for 12 years. Jon is currently assigned to the Traffic Enforcement Division. Deputy Lopes works in large Hispanic populated neighborhoods and is now comfortable with communicating with citizens utilizing basic Spanish. Deputy Lopes was a non-Spanish speaker who learned the basics of the language.