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Associated Press, Published March 11 2013

St. Cloud Police Department uses device to interpret for officers

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The St. Cloud Police Department has some new technology to help officers better communicate with citizens who don't speak English.

The unit is called ELSA. It's a hands-free device that operates like a cellphone and can be clipped to an officer's shirt.

It provides on-demand, immediate interpretation of 180 different languages.

The device is made by RTT Mobile Interpretation, which also has a telephone support line where officers can get the same interpreter services in case the portable device is not available.

The department has had the units for about a week, and has already used them on three calls. The devices helped officers with a juvenile issue in Spanish, complete a domestic assault investigation in Oromo and assist in delivering a baby in Somali.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.