GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Updated Friday with additional context from Grand Prairie police.
Every shift, Officer Thai Nguyen makes himself visible at Grand Prairie's Asia Times Square.
Nguyen came to the United States from Vietnam when he was a child.
"I didn't know anything when I got here so I learned English from scratch," he said.
Throughout his life and his profession, he's experienced racism firsthand.
"Criminal suspects, they try to taunt you. They try to mimic your accent. They try to antagonize you," said Nguyen.
But instead of taking these racist slurs personally, he uses his energy to prevent Asians in his community from becoming victims.
"That's why I'm here. The whole reason why I'm here is to bring that connection and fill that gap."
He understands there is sometimes a disconnect between the Asian community and police. There is often a fear of law enforcement or a language barrier, which consequently leaves many cases unreported.
Nguyen takes the time to translate safety pamphlets from English to Vietnamese. He also goes around to local businesses to update them on what's happening in the neighborhood.
He said his team of officers at Grand Prairie Police Department is growing in diversity, and part of his job is to recruit more bilingual officers to join the force.
Grand Prairie Police Chief Daniel Scesney said crime is down in Grand Prairie. The number of victims who are Asian is down 13%, and none of the reported incidents were hate crimes. Regardless, he wants everyone in the city to feel safe.
"The feeling of security is just as important as security itself," said Scesney.
He increased police presence at Asia Times Square after the deadly shootings in Atlanta.
He said, "We will stand with you shoulder-to-shoulder, not just for the coming weeks, but from now until forever."