While City Hall sings the praises of its security ambassadors, WeHoans on the street are continually presented with a dimmer picture of their performance — stories of sleeping on the job, neglect of duty, even open drinking and drug use.
These anecdotes clash with reports generated by city staff that paint a rosy picture of the Block by Block program, which provides the city with its squad of unarmed security guards.
The “safety kiosks” — those random sidewalk podiums manned (at times) by security ambassadors — are the setting for many of the most infuriating first-hand accounts circulating in WeHo.
Yet City Hall has touted the kiosks as the catalyst for reduced crime on the city’s East Side, and they’ve waved many numbers and metrics in the public’s face to persuade them the kiosks are working.
WEHOville spent just over two minutes Tuesday afternoon observing the safety kiosk located in front of the Ramada, and video footage we captured shows the on-duty security ambassador radiating misery, ignoring passersby and appearing to fall asleep at the podium. Whether she was feeling ill, anxious or just slacking off, the ambassador clearly wasn’t up to the job at this particular moment.
But moments like these continue to bubble up in conversation, challenging the wisdom in City Council’s decision to sink millions more into the program and, concerningly, put a greater slice of WeHo’s public safety needs on their plates.