Workplace Violence Prevention News

Protecting our Communities from Violence

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Protecting our Communities from Violence

Become a Phone Call Hero!

By: Hector Alvarez

A few days ago I was on vacation with my family in Fort Bragg, California.  We were being the stereotypical RV overnighters enjoying our time on the Mendocino Coast.  We included Glass Beach on our “must do” list and took our daughter and several other young girls for a little bit of beach exploring.

We were pleasantly surprised when we got to the beach and we had the entire place to ourselves.  It was a bit odd, but I will take special moments like that any day.   Unfortunately, after a few seconds we were informed why everybody had left the beach.   In the distance was a women who appeared to be drunk, high, or emotionally disturbed (or all three). She was falling down in the water, yelling at nobody in particular and seemed very agitated.  Several people told us that she had actually grabbed a couple of kids in a bear hug and the parents had to pull their kids back.  I directed our group of girls to a part of the beach away from the women, and then sat there scratching my head for a while; everybody just left, no calls to the police, real concern for the safety of others, or even the women.  Granted they warned us, but that was accidental as we just happened to pass people as they were leaving.

I dialed 911 and after a few transfers I was speaking directly to State Parks Officer Morris.  She was considerate and clearly concerned for the safety of park visitors.  Fortunately, she was in the area and arrived with another patrol officer a few minutes later and promptly arrested the extremely inebriated women, but it was clear the women had some major mental issues going on.   The point of all this is that it only took 5 minutes of my time to make the call, monitor the situation from a safe distance, and then go back to enjoying my family time. 

I’m issuing a challenge to each of you -- don’t standby, stand for, or allow negative influences to continue to take advantage of our communities.  We need to stop threats to our communities and be willing to make a difference, and a phone call may be all it takes. I’m just like everybody else, I want to enjoy time with my family free from the threat of violence.   So please, the next time you see a problem, make the call!   Be a Phone Call Hero!

About the Author:  Mr. Alvarez is the founder of Alvarez Associates, a firm specializing in workplace violence prevention.    Having been both a security director for a major national critical infrastructure and a city police officer, he has built over 25 years of experience in the field of violence prevention. For 15 years he directed cutting edge security programs focused specifically on preventing and responding to "active shooters" in private sector environments.  He understands the challenges organizations and communities face addressing the threat of violence.  Hector has the privilege of working with organizations both corporate and community based to build safer communities through keynote speeches, workshops, security assessments, trainings and behavioral threat assessments. He has personally evaluated and managed hundreds of potentially violent situations, developed numerous violence prevention programs and trained thousands of employees and managers in workplace violence prevention. He has also witnessed the collapse of civil order first-hand as a responder to both the Loma Prieta Earthquake and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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