The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office has announced it plans to create nameplates for its deputies to let the public know if they are fluent in a language other than English.

Nameplates for more than 100 deputies are in the works to denote that they speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish or Filipino, according to the Sheriff’s Office, which said they are the first emergency responders in the city to launch such a program.

A closeup of one of the bilingual badges shows the officer’s name in both English and another language they speak fluently. (Photo courtesy of San Francisco Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

“For those whose first language is not English, communicating effectively with law enforcement can pose a challenge,” Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said in a statement. “We want to break down those barriers so that when people need help, they feel like they can approach us and we can answer them in the language in which they are most comfortable.”

The deputies have to be bilingual-certified through the city’s Human Resources Department to receive the name tag, and other languages such as Vietnamese, Russian and Arabic will be included in the future, sheriff’s officials said.

Dan McMenamin is the managing editor at Bay City News, directing daily news coverage of the 12-county greater Bay Area. He has worked for BCN since 2008 and has been managing editor since 2014 after previously serving as BCN’s San Francisco bureau reporter. A UC Davis graduate, he came to BCN after working for a newspaper and nonprofit in the Davis area. He handles staffing, including coaching of our interns, day-to-day coverage decisions and management of the newswire.