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Safe House Community Program
Protecting the Children of Los Angeles
Concerned community members are demonstrating a desire to accept a shared responsibility for the well-being of children throughout the City of Los Angeles. With the assistance of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), parents and other community members are joining together and building the neighborhood "Safe House" program.
A Safe House is a home or business where a child may go for safety or assistance when the child encounters a threat or other emergency while en route to or from any LAUSD elementary, middle, or senior high school. Safe House locations are marked with a distinctive placard for easy identification.
The Crossing Guard program has been in place for several years. The purpose of this program is to provide a trained crossing guard at hundreds of intersections throughout the City of Los Angeles to assist school children as they cross busy intersections.
Safe House participants are concerned community members who have demonstrated a desire to accept a shared responsibility for the well-being of children in their neighborhood. Participants must commit to having a responsible person at their residence or business during the hours that LAUSD school children are traveling to or from school.
To safeguard the integrity of the program, Safe House participants are required to submit a formal application to a local school principal who will submit appropriate applications to the LAPD for background review. After completion of a satisfactory background check, the Safe House participant will receive a distinctive placard for display in a conspicuous location, identifying his/her residence or business as a recognized Safe House.
Safe House participants agree to provide assistance for children by:
▪ Telephoning appropriate authorities for help
▪ Reassuring frightened, lost or endangered children
▪ Assisting children who have medical emergencies by initiating the response of emergency medical personnel
▪ Assisting children who are in immediate fear of becoming victims of any crime, intimidation or abuse
▪ Reporting crimes to law enforcement officials and providing descriptions of vehicles and suspects when possible
Safe House participants are NOT required to:
▪ Provide transportation
▪ Provide personal necessities like food, toilet facilities or a place to "warm up" or "dry off"
▪ Enforce laws or chase suspects
▪ Guarantee safety
▪ Provide medical treatment (except to telephone for help)
Implementing A Safe House Program
Persons desiring to implement a Safe House program in their neighborhood should contact the local LAUSD school to determine if a Safe House program already exists or if one is in the planning process. If a Safe House program does not exist, the following steps may be taken to locate persons who may be interested in becoming Safe House participants:
▪ Canvass the neighborhood for community interest and support
▪ Distribute flyers provided by the LAUSD and LAPD in the neighborhoods to announce that interested persons may attend a meeting arranged through the local LAUSD school in conjunction with the involved LAPD Area station
▪ Request participation from local community organizations such as Parent/teacher/student organizations, Neighborhood Watch groups, parent groups, civic and/or service organizations
▪ Designate one person to act as a coordinator for implementing the local Safe House program with assistance from the local LAUSD school principal and the LAPD Area station
Coordinator's Duties and Responsibilities
The Safe House coordinator should be a community volunteer or LAUSD employee who can represent the Safe House community and should be selected by the school principal. The coordinator should be responsible for:
▪ Gaining the support and participation for the program
▪ Determining the routes that children use to walk to and from their schools
▪ Preparing a map of the area, identifying the routes traveled
▪ Providing copies of the map to the school and the Police Department representative
▪ Scheduling the meetings as needed for all Safe House participants
NOTE: The initial meeting shall be held prior to the beginning of the school year.
The coordinator is responsible for ensuring that:
▪ All Safe House participants receive the necessary information and training
▪ Only authorized Safe House locations are identified with the Safe House placard
▪ Safe House participants maintain the Safe House placard in a conspicuous place at the front of the residence
▪ A current list of all local Safe House participants and locations is maintained
The coordinator is responsible for providing the designated LAPD representative with:
▪ A schedule of meetings to be conducted with concerned community members and/or school personnel who desire information regarding the Safe House program
▪ A map of the designated area depicting the routes traveled by the students
▪ A list of Safe House locations that are visibly identified with the Safe House "placard," including the placard identification number
▪ A list of Safe House participants (including their names, addresses and telephone numbers)
LAUSD School Principal Duties and Responsibilities
The school principal, or designated staff member, is responsible for:
▪ Accepting applications from potential Safe House participants and forwarding those needing background checks to the LAPD Area Commanding Officer
▪ Selecting Safe House participants to be used for the program after reviewing applications and background investigation reports
▪ Assisting the coordinator in providing information and training to interested parent/teacher associations with the school
▪ Maintaining a list of Safe House locations
▪ Accepting telephone calls from Safe House participants relating to situations necessitating notification to a student’s school and/or parent
▪ Notifying the parent(s) of students involved in significant situations reported by Safe House participants
▪ Distributing information flyers to children and parents
▪ Informing the designated Police Department representative of any circumstances that:
▪ May be a concern for the safety of students
▪ May disqualify a Safe House participant
▪ May jeopardize the local Safe House program
LAPD Area Commanding Officer Responsibilities
The role of the LAPD Area Commanding Officer is to assist the Safe House coordinator and school principal by:
▪ Assigning Area Senior Lead Officers to work with community and school personnel to implement and maintain the program
▪ Providing Safe House Guidelines to the local Safe House coordinator
▪ Providing information and direction to Safe House participants regarding:
▪ Actions to take in specific emergency and non-emergency situations
▪ Notifications necessary in emergency and non-emergency situations
▪ Completion of suspect/vehicle descriptions and incident forms
▪ General operating procedures
▪ Referring applications from potential Safe House participants to the appropriate school principal
▪ Conducting a limited background investigation of Safe House applicants
NOTE: The background investigation will be limited to a local criminal history search and an interview of the personal character references identified by the applicant.
▪ Ensuring that investigations of Safe House applicants remain confidential
▪ Maintaining a file of all applications and data related to the investigations
▪ Notifying the school principal of the determination whether or not the applicants are considered "acceptable" as Safe House participants
▪ Maintaining a file of all qualified Safe House locations
▪ Maintaining a file of all Area schools participating in a Safe House program