With a collection of police officer discrimination and harassment lawsuits now working its way through the court system, it's hard not to draw the connection between that troubled past and where the department hopefully is headed as it graduates the first class from its Spanish-language community academy.
The success of the endeavor comes as the Police Department, hounded by accusations that its ranks are insensitive to ethnic differences and out of touch with minorities, tries to repair its image. And by all accounts, it apparently hit a home run first time at bat.
As Jesus Ayala — one of 25 graduates from the Spanish-language academy — aptly pointed out, “The Latino community in Burbank doesn't have a lot of information about the Police Department. But now I know.”