A Block by Block Kiosk went up at West Hollywood Park this past Friday, July 1, 2022 as part of the city’s expansion of foot patrols and the Block by Block Kiosk Program. The kiosk is located by the public restroom at the park and overlooks, the dog parks, the Great Lawn and the Parallel Perpendicular art installation. A Block by Block security ambassador was also spotted walking the grounds at the top of the Aquatic and Recreation Center.
The kiosk at WeHo Park is the first Block by Block post in the westside of the city by the LGBT Rainbow District. There is currently a kiosk at the West Hollywood Gateway, at Santa Monica Boulevard and La Brea Avenue and one at Plummer Park.
A security ambassador told WEHO TIMES that the response has been positive and most people are happy to see them in the westside.
Those opposed to the Block by Block kiosk point out that it is more of a small podium with the city logo, than an actual hut or cubicle designed to give security presence and provide safety.
The City began supplementing its Sheriff public safety response with the expansion of the Block By Block Security Ambassador program in the community and through contracted security guards at City parks and facilities. Security Ambassadors were initiated as a form of community public safety support in 2012. A staff report dated October 18, 2021, calls the program a success with providing high touch services and visibility to residents and businesses. The program gradually expanded from a budget of $700,000 in FY16 to $2.1 million in FY22.
During its regular meeting on Monday, June 27, 2022, voted to approve the City’s FY 2022-23 & 2023-24 two-year operating budget and capital work plan, which included changes related to community safety programs. The item was approved in a 3-2 vote with a motion by Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne, seconded by Councilmember John D’Amico, with the “yes” vote of Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath, noting the “no” votes of Mayor Lauren Meister and Councilmember John M. Erickson.
- Increase Block by Block (BBB) security ambassadors by 30 positions to perform foot patrols in residential neighborhoods; staff will return to the City Council with an item for an updated agreement for services in August 2022;
- Add one Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Deputy assigned to the Entertainment Policing Team beginning July 1, 2022;
- Maintain existing funding levels for LASD Supplemental Patrols for FY2022-23;
- Decrease the number of LASD Deputies by two in 90 days;
- Staff will report back to the City Council on crime trends and to evaluate the BBB staffing increase in nine months (six months after the 90-day period) before a decision is made to potentially decrease by three additional LASD Deputies – if approved, decrease by three additional LASD Deputies; and
- Evaluate decreasing LASD Deputies during Pride and increasing Block by Block (BBB) Security Ambassadors.
The City of West Hollywood’s Community Safety Department provides oversight of law enforcement and coordinates community programs to reduce crime and increase public safety and the quality of life for citizens, businesses, and visitors to West Hollywood. The City contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for police protection, the Los Angeles County Fire Department for fire protection, and Block by Block for its security ambassador program
The Block by Block security ambassador program was first established in 2013 and provides a highly visible uniformed presence at the street level. Block by Block security ambassadors are deployed on bicycles along major streets, alleys, City parking lots, and residential neighborhoods, which has a direct positive impact on safety and neighborhood livability.
On Monday, June 6, 2022 the City Council approved a two-year agreement for services with Block by Block, which includes a regular deployment of approximately 36 full-time security ambassadors, plus 6 additional ambassadors at kiosks and on foot patrols, and approximately 13 full time ambassadors as fixed-post security guards at the City’s facilities. The approved motion on Monday, June 27, 2022 expands upon this by 30 full-time security ambassadors and an updated agreement for services is anticipated to go to the City Council for approval in August 2022.
The Block by Block Security Ambassador Hotline provides access to free, 24/7 support by phone or text at (323) 821-8604.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station provides law enforcement services to the West Hollywood community. For anyone with public safety concerns, please reach out to the Sheriff’s Station 24/7 at (310) 855-8850. In an emergency, always call 911.
The staff report and related attachments for the City’s FY 2022-23 & 2023-24 two-year operating budget and capital work plan are posted here for reference (scroll down to Item 4.C.): https://weho.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=16&clip_id=3786
For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Community Safety programs and initiatives, please visit www.weho.org/publicsafety.