SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It takes a village to serve, and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is diversely doing just that.
“I am from Saigon, Vietnam. I was born there, and I came here when I was 2 years old,” said Deputy Ha Vo.
“I was born in Afghanistan,” said Det. Farishta Jamil.
“I originally am from Kenya, but now I am an American,” added Margaret Wanasamba who has worked for the county for 16 years.
The department employs nearly 3,000 people, and of those, 61 countries are represented.
“There’s no better way to be really involved in the community by becoming a deputy,” Vo said.
Those on the force believe the diversity helps fight crime on the streets.
“I’ve been in a lot of situations where my mere presence has calmed the situation,” said Detective Tyrie McIntyre.
It allows for nearly every community member to have a voice.
“I speak Farsi and Pashto,” Jamil added.
Translating is a need that’s indispensable.
You may remember the tragic high profile case of Nikolay Soltys, a Ukrainian man who murdered six family members back in 2001 in Sacramento.
The department had one detective that spoke the same dialect and was able to crack the case wide open.
“To be able to mitigate those cultural difference right from the get-go were 100 percent instrumental in aiding in that investigation,” Sgt. Shaun Hampton said.
Investigators on the force believe it’s empowering to have cultural differences and to know they too are making a difference.
“A lot of women from my country don’t see themselves in a position of power or an important job like this, so for me, it’s really important,” Jamil added.
A team from so many different backgrounds and ethnicities that continues to grow to help protect and serve.
After the economic downturn 10 years ago, the department was forced to fire 150 employees, but that’s now changing and it’s working to hire new employees with an eye to maintaining the diversity that makes the force effective.