Health and Safety Commission Hears Updates From Local Agencies

The Beverly Hills Health and Safety Commission held its monthly regular meeting on July 25, during which it heard reports from local agencies and updates on current programs. 

Representatives from the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD), Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) and Beverly Hills Fire Department (BHFD) were in attendance. The Commission voted to continue authorizing meetings to be held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which started in May 2020. Vice Chair Lee Hilborne attended the meeting remotely and voted in favor of the resolution. 

Mark Mead, the new BHUSD director of school safety, spoke to the Commission about several safety measures currently being implemented. These include a recent active shooter drill as well as the NormanAid program, which is a support and wellness center at the Beverly Hills High School that seeks to monitor and improve the emotional health of students. Mead said that the BHUSD is looking into a system design that would allow all of the school’s exterior doors to be automatically and immediately locked by a button should a situation occur such as an active shooter on campus.

BHPD Lieutenant Giovanni Trejo provided an update on the Real Time Watch Center. The Center was launched this year and works to centralize the city’s automated license plate readers, drones and over 2,000 CCTV cameras. It also employs the city’s existing private security contractors for operators to monitor cameras live at all hours .

Trejo described recent successes, including the arrest of two suspects who were wanted in connection with a series of burglaries that occurred between March and May of 2022 . He said Real Time Watch Center operators noticed the vehicle returning to the city on May 18 and tracked it while coordinating ground units to respond. Both suspects were booked and charged with multiple counts of burglary.

“I think based on what we see, this Center is going to make a difference,” Trejo said. “It’s already making a difference in our crime rate. It’s already making a difference in the amount of time that it takes for detectives to identify a vehicle.”

Michael Hand, a BHFD Battalion Chief, reported a significant uptick in calls since last year, from 3,998 calls at this time last year to 4,489 calls this year. He said there have been 520 incidents in the month of July so far, and 66% of them were medical calls.

“With the economy being back open, our residents are out and about more,” Hand said. “We have a lot more visitors [and] our businesses are open. So it’s about normal, a little bit higher than we were pre-pandemic. It’s about what we anticipated.”

Commissioner Cathy Baker told Hand that a family member had been injured in an incident at her own home on July 3, and that a training program she took called Stop The Bleed had taught her how to assist the injured person until emergency responders arrived. Baker and Hand both emphasized the importance of residents taking first aid courses, which can be found through the Beverly Hills CPR center.  

The Commission was also given a year-to-date update on the BHFD’s Nurse Practitioner Program, which started in 2019. The program seeks to avoid overutilization of emergency departments by providing patients with services in the field. As an alternative to emergency transportation, patients can be seen in the field and administered treatment similar to an urgent care, such as laceration repair. The program also has a groundbreaking “proactive” approach, where nurse practitioners follow up with patients by connecting them to primary care physicians or by visiting them at home to assess and identify health risks.

“The spirit is to intervene in the patient before they reach a place to where they regress to a state of emergency and they feel like they have to call 911 for help,” said Sean Stokes, the BHFD emergency medical services administrator. “We want to plug them back in and involve them on that path of their prescribed plan of care.”

At its next meeting on Aug. 24, the Commission will consider adopting stricter smoking regulations for the city. The proposed resolution would remove an exception to the city’s smoking ordinance that allows smoking while actively traveling on a public right of way, including sidewalks and alleyways.