Block by Block talks LGBTQ+ training, code enforcement and team work

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The Block by Block security ambassadors provided a report Monday to the Public Safety Commission of West Hollywood on their activities for the month of April.

The organization recently renewed their annual contract with the city to provide supplemental law enforcement assistance and hospitality services. 

They reported substantial interactions with the community, including 4,972 business contacts and 1,350 unhoused community contacts. They also responded to 649 calls for service.

The ambassadors highlighted efforts to attend neighborhood watch meetings and public safety open houses to better inform residents of the services available. They noted a rise in calls that fall outside their typical purview, such as code enforcement and noise complaints, indicating a need for clearer communication regarding the scope of their responsibilities.

Adjustments to staffing and deployment strategies were also discussed. The ambassadors have responded to ongoing issues by positioning temporary kiosks at hotspots like Plummer Park and enhancing staffing levels by working with a recruiter to address previous shortages. The company noted they are fully staffed at present. 

The meeting covered the ongoing collaboration with healthcare services to educate ambassadors on handling interactions during mental health crises. This partnership aims to enhance the effectiveness of responses to such situations, ensuring that those in need receive appropriate support and intervention.

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In late March and early April, the ambassadors completed a sensitivity training specifically focused on better understanding and interacting with the LGBTQ+ community. The training, which lasted three hours, covered the historical struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, the impact of stigmas and prejudices, and key terminology related to sexual orientation and gender identity. This initiative aimed to equip the ambassadors with the knowledge and skills to act as allies to the LGBTQ+ community, particularly focusing on the unique challenges faced by transgender individuals.

During the training, facilitators and ambassadors engaged in open discussions about the mental health challenges that transgender individuals often encounter during their transition. These conversations allowed for questions to be answered and common misconceptions to be addressed. The training was well-received by the participants, with 90% of the ambassadors finding it beneficial. Plans were made to continue this type of training with refresher courses to maintain and deepen the ambassadors’ understanding and sensitivity.

On April 9th, an ambassador named Gerardo exemplified the practical importance of the training and readiness. He encountered an individual who was not breathing and immediately administered CPR until emergency medical services (EMS) arrived and took over. This quick response underscored the critical role that trained security personnel can play in emergency situations.

On the same day, another distressing incident occurred at Fatburger, where an individual suffered a fatal heroin overdose. By the time the ambassadors and EMS arrived, the individual had already passed away, highlighting the limitations of timely intervention in such cases.

Throughout April, the team also focused on strengthening their operational response times and coordination with other city services. They reported an average response time of approximately 13 minutes to calls for service, notable given that they primarily patrol on foot or by bicycle. This responsiveness is crucial as they prepare for increased activity and responsibilities during the upcoming Pride events.

The ambassadors continue to expand their collaborations with social service providers, particularly Healthcare in Action, to enhance their ability to assist individuals experiencing mental health crises effectively. 

A specific incident involving a physical assault at a bus stop outside Whole Foods was discussed. The incident was witnessed by a Block by Block team leader who observed an individual inappropriately slapping a female bystander. The team lead promptly contacted the Sheriff’s Department, and the victim chose to press charges against the perpetrator. It was clarified that Block by Block receives calls from private security personnel at various locations like Pavilion, Target, and Trader Joe’s. However, on private property, Block by Block’s role is limited to observation and support; they defer the management of incidents to private security and encourage them to contact the Sheriff’s Department if necessary. This clarification helped distinguish the operational boundaries between Block by Block services and private security forces.

There was a discussion on whether commissioners could participate in future sensitivity training sessions. Director Danny Rivas indicated that similar opportunities had been offered in the past and suggested coordination with the city clerk’s office to facilitate commissioner participation in upcoming sessions.

 

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JF1
JF1
10 days ago

How about train them to treat everyone with respect and kindness. Simple and should apply to all. As a gay man, I don’t need them trained on how to deal with me any differently just because I’m gay. Thanks but no thanks.

Cy Husain
9 days ago
Reply to  JF1

The problem is NOT that people in law enforcement don’t have the proper training, it’s that they genuinely are bigoted with clear intent to harm oppressed minority groups like LGBTQ+ people and nonwhites. Systemic safeguards are needed to insure that such people are NOT welcome in Public Safety ❗

John Smith
John Smith
9 days ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Give it a rest. His comment made a ton of sense.

John Smith
John Smith
10 days ago

Let’s just hire more police . This is a failed experiment.

JF1
JF1
10 days ago
Reply to  John Smith

Yes that would be the smart way to go. But since when has this current council done anything smart?

sadbutrrue
sadbutrrue
10 days ago
Reply to  John Smith

LOL yup its a failed attempt. Then again I feel sorry for them. The few I’ve talked with all say the same thing..we call the police to report issues with the homeless i.e. weapons, knives etc and the police either never come to help the block by block workers or just do not care to doo anything about what block by block is saying.

Cy Husain
8 days ago
Reply to  John Smith

Law Enforcement was the first failed experiment ❗

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