A Grand Prairie police officer is working to build a sense of security and community with the city’s Asian community.
Officer Thai Nguyen is one of several Grand Prairie officers working increased patrols at Asia Times Square, following the Atlanta spa shootings.
“We have a police tower here, and we have extra police presence here, since that event,” said Grand Prairie Police Officer Thai Nguyen.
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“Seeing an Asian-American police officer who actively speaks their native language makes them feel they’re more connected. They feel more of a sense of belonging, so it’s easier for them to approach and talk to you and express their concerns with you,” said Nguyen.
He and Matthew Loh, CEO of Asia Times Square, says there has been concern from customers and businesses about the increasing anti-Asian attacks since the start of COVID-19.
Nguyen, who moved to the U.S. From Vietnam, when he was around 12, has experienced racism while on the job, because of his own accent.
“We know when we’re dealing with criminal suspects, they’re going to try their best to get under your skin, to try to mock you and try to taunt you. But we’re going to try to stay professional and deal with them accordingly,” said Nguyen.
Matthew Loh wants “Stop Asian Hate” to be more than a proclamation one day out of the year.
“We’re in 2021 now. For us to face this kind of racism in our society is very unfortunate. I think it’s definitely time for us to replace ignorance with tolerance,” said Loh.
It’s something he hopes people practice year round.
The Grand Prairie Police Department says it has not received a report of a single hate crime against Asians.