The Durham County Sheriff's Office has announced the appointment of a new Hispanic community liaison.
Captain Raheem Aleem’s job will be to help the community’s Spanish-speaking residents navigate relations with law enforcement and other public service agencies. He’ll also be tasked with organizing community meetings in the Hispanic community, helping Spanish-speaking crime victims, and promoting and expanding existing outreach services.
Aleem said he's also working to inform residents that the Sheriff's Office does not search for individuals based on their immigration status, nor does it participate in Immigration and Customs Enforcement checkpoints – a fear of many undocumented residents and their families.
“I can't speak for other agencies, but I can tell you that here in Durham, we're not participating in anything that deals with ICE checkpoints or anything like that,” he said. “I don't know of any checkpoints of that nature going on in Durham.”
Sheriff Mike Anderson is committed to making sure all residents feel safe reaching out, Aleem said.
“He wants people to be treated fair and reasonable,” Aleem said. “And in treating people fair and reasonable, that surpasses everything. So it doesn't matter where you're from...if you call in because you have a concern and you want to report something we're here to listen.”
Aleem, who is fluent in Spanish, said many undocumented residents fear law enforcement and are less likely to report crimes.
“With the Latino community, one of the hardest things is to build trust,” he said. “And once the community begins to trust the process, then things in the community starts to move a little smoother.”