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The Language Access Advisory Council

The DPS Language Access Advisory Council (LAAC) is a group dedicated to increasing language access for all. The LAAC​​ meets quarterly to discuss the progress of the language access plan and creates future goals. The LAAC also participates in educational forums on the LEP population and acts as document translators. ​

See the LAAC Member's Profiles Below


Elia James (DPS Language Services Coordinator)

Elia Irene James is a Latina born in Durango, Mexico. Her interest in working in government one day brought her to the state of Indiana where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Saint Ma​ry’s College (Notre Dame, IN). Elia’s desire for higher education then brought her to Indianapolis where she earned a Master’s of Public Affairs at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).  This fall Elia will also receive a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from IUPUI. 

Elia’s career in Indianapolis began as a Certified Probation Officer in the state of Indiana for the Marion Superior Courts.  In February of 2009 Elia became a Bilingual Specialist for the Department of Public Safety and was assigned to  Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s East District Headquarters where she applied skills in simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, along with sight translation of documents for police officers and detectives alike.   In August of 2010 the Director of Public Safety’s office promoted Elia to her current position as Communication and Strategic Initiatives Manager/ PIO for her exemplary skills in program management and her work in the community.  Elia James is the Chair and Coordinator of the DPS Language Access Advisory Council.

Lori White, Executive Director, Citizens Police Complaints Office 

Lori White spent 18 months managing a variety of projects for Public Safety Director Troy Riggs before moving into her current role as the Executive Director of the Citizens Police Complaint Office (CPCO) on September 1, 2014.  She attended the NACOLE (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement) national conference in September and brought back trainings in Body Worn Video, Use of Force and Media Management for the Citizens Police Complaint Board members and CPCO office staff. 

 Within the past 6 months, White has overseen an overhaul of how complaints and allegations against police officers are tracked with the use of Internal Affairs Pro so complaint trends can be identified and any “red flag” behavioral issues can be identified and addressed in a timely manner.  The CPCO also served on the committee to revamp the IMPD’s discipline process.  The CPCO is also working with Code for America and the White House Police Data Initiative  to use technology to build the public’s trust in law enforcement and oversight.  White is slated to chair an open data efficiency team in the near future for the department of public  safety.

 White, a native Hoosier, has performed a variety of duties during her time with DPS. Those duties included administrative oversight of more than 60 efficiency teams including teams that reviewed police staffing allocation, police morale and violent crime reduction. White also coordinated the department’s “Director for Day” program and the department’s “Excellence in Government” employee recognition initiative. White continues to serve as chairperson for the steering committee for the Your Life Matters Decision House teen event and is assisting in coordinating the Indy Public Safety Foundation’s Graffiti Abatement Unit program.


Rafael Diaz, Jr.

I have been employed by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for 5 and a half years and currently serve as one of the Public Information Officers (PIO) for the Media Relations Office. In addition to my duties as a PIO, I also assist with outreach in the Latino community city-wide.  Prior to my current assignment, I was assigned to East District middle shift for 4 years. I served as a member of the Limited English Efficiency Team put in place at the request of the Director of the Department of Public Safety in the summer of 2012. As a result of that team’s findings, it was advised a Language Access Advisory Council be developed in order to develop ways to better serve Limited English speakers in Indianapolis.



Terri Morris Downs

Terri Morris Downs is the executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Center of Indianapolis. Downs was involved in the development of the Immigrant Welcome Center and has served as the director of the organization since 2007. The Immigrant Welcome Center connects newcomers to the resources, services, and opportunities they need to fully participate in the economic, civic, social and cultural life of the community.


Maryori Duarte-Sheffield

Born and raised in Venezuela, Venezuelan parents, and a very close and traditional large family. I work as a volunteer for the Center of Hope, also I am a Natural Helper for the Immigrant Welcome Center and I do everything that I can do to help people because I have been very fortunate all my life. I realized that my passion always has been the people, and for that reason I am here today to share with you all my thoughts about the Latinos/Hispanic population, understanding at the same time that: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.  I try to learn about American Traditions keeping close to my heart my Venezuelan traditions.


Carleen F. Miller

Since 2008, Carleen has been the Executive Director of Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc.  Exodus resettles refugees in Indianapolis and provides comprehensive services to more than 1400 refugees, asylees and human trafficking survivors each year. Previously, Carleen served at The Julian Center from 1996 to 2008 where most recently she was the Director of Shelter and Social Services. Additionally, she maintains a small private psychotherapy practice in Indianapolis. She holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN and a bachelor’s degree in Theology from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso IN.  She is currently an Advanced Doctoral Student at the Institute for Clinical Social Work, Chicago, IL. Carleen holds Indiana licenses in Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy.



Marina Waters

Marina Hadjioannou Waters has dedicated over 15 years of her career and academic interests advocating for the civil, political and cultural rights of communities facing discrimination. Marina received a law degree and Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of Arizona, where she worked at the State of Arizona, Office of Civil Rights and the University of Arizona as a Staff Attorney. Currently Marina serves as Chief Operating Officer at LUNA Language Services, sits on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the National Council of Interpreting in Health Care, and the Indiana Supreme Court Interpreter Advisory Committee​. In all of these roles, she advocates for equal access to services through the promotion and protection of language and cultural rights.

Lun Kham Pieper, Attorney, Marion County Prosecutor

Maria Wildridge, Latino Services Director Marion County Prosecutor's Office


Firany Briceno, Shalom Health Care Center

Roberto Marquez, Pastoral Minister

Carlos Trincado, IMPD Officer

Madeline Lothamer, IMPD Officer

Gabrielle Neal, Director Catholic Charities

Heidi Smith, Assistant Director​ Catholic Charities

Hilda Brady, Community Partner​​


Morella Domínguez Capríles, Shalom Health Care Center

Jose Vargas-Vila, IUPUI Latino Studies Director​​​

Rosa Tezanos Pinto, IUPUI Spanis Department Director

Martha Pabon, Habitat for Humanity