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El Protector· Hispanic Community Outreach Program

Over the past decade, Eastern Washington has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of fatality and felony collisions involving Hispanic/Latino surnamed drivers. The year 2002 was a tragic example of this. In the Kennewick and Walla Walla Autonomous Patrol Areas (APA's), there were four vehicular homicide collisions, all of which involved Hispanic/Latino surnamed drivers. Those collisions resulted in the deaths of nine individuals, as well as critically injuring ten others.

The causes of these collisions and resulting deaths and injuries are common: DUI, speed, and failing to use the occupant restraint system in the vehicle. The number of Hispanic/Latino surnamed drivers involved in these types of collisions is greatly disproportionate to the 25% regional Hispanic/Latino population.

The "El Protector" program has been designed to fully integrate the WSP's Problem Oriented Public Safety (POPS) philosophy to engage the Hispanic/Latino community in District 3 (Yakima, Sunnyside, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla area.). This program places special emphasis on people with limited English speaking abilities. In addition, this bilingual/bicultural program provides public education through dialogue with the Hispanic/Latino community, instead of focusing soley on enforcement measures.


Educational outreach to the Hispanic/Latino community that addresses DUI and occupant protection education, built in collaboration with community stakeholders.


  1. Reduce the number of fatality collisions involving Latino drivers/occupants.
  2. Reduce the number of felony collisions involving Hispanic/Latino drivers/occupants.
  3. Reduce the number of Latino community members injured or killed as a result of failing to use vehicle occupant restraint equipment.

Evolve the program to address all traffic safety issues and create a good rapport and break down barriers within the Latino community, providing them with a better understanding about law enforcement in the State of Washington.

Citizens Advisory Committee

The "El Protector" Advisory Committee involves key members of the Hispanic/Latino community who are actively trying to make a difference. The following is a list of committed Advisory Committee members:

  • Ms. Lucy Cartagena – Ms. Cartagena is currently the Human Resource Manager for Broetje Orchards. She also works directly with employees, supervisors, and manages all aspects of safety, personnel issues, workers compensation, and employee benefits. She has been with Broetje Orchards for ten years. She holds a BS Degree in Social Sciences from Washington State University. 

  • Ms. Sylvia Gonzales – Ms. Gonzales owns a home custodial entrepreneur business and has been a community activist for several years. She is a very busy woman but always makes the time to help out at all events. Sylvia was born in Mexico and grew up as a migrant worker in Washington State. 

  • Ms. Maria VeraMs. Vera owns her own business and spends lots of time traveling. She owns a translating business, which helps the El Protector Program produce the many educational flyers and pamphlets. She donates the little time she has helping at events throughout the year.

El Protector Partners

  • Chief Robert Metzger – Pasco Police Department
  • Sheriff Steve Keane – Benton County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sheriff John Turner- Walla Walla Sheriff’s Office
  • Sheriff Richard Lathim – Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Under Sheriff Kevin Carle – Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chief Scott Bieber - Walla Walla Police Department
  • Captain Ken Roske – Pasco Police Department
  • Captain Terry Heisey – Walla Walla Police Department
  • Ms. Nancy McClenny-Walters – WTSC Regional Coordinator, Walla Walla
  • Mr. Mike Aldridge- WTSC Regional Coordinator, Kennewick

Calendar of Events

  • There are no events scheduled at this time

El Protector Contact

Please feel free to contact our El Protector with any comments or traffic-related concerns affecting your community. It is our mission to work with our community to solve problems together. Call us at (509) 734-7034 or e-mail or

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