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The Power of Personal Connections Propels Parra’s Work

It’s the power of personal connections—and his desire to help people—that propel the work of Jorge Parra, SF SAFE’s new public safety and community engagement coordinator, in his role serving the San Francisco community.

Parra, who joined the SF SAFE team in April 2018, has hit the ground running in his multifaceted position that includes a range of safety-centric outreach activities, including helping to facilitate and organize Neighborhood Watch groups, hosting Safety Workshops relevant to community members of all ages and teaming up with the Community Police Advisory Boards (CPABs) to help police captains facilitate and host events for the community.

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“We also do Residential Security Surveys, which is a really cool thing,” said Parra regarding another facet of his work. “We go to people’s homes, at no charge to them, and we thoroughly walk through their homes and check out the windows, the locks, the landscape, the lighting, etc. and give them a detailed report on how they can make their homes more burglary resistant.”

Parra credits SF SAFE’s longtime Security Services Manager Furlishous Wyatt, Jr. as a mentor who has helped him get up to speed on executing the surveys.

“I’ve learned a lot from him,” said Parra. “We do a really good job of looking at everything and providing detailed reports.”

But no matter what the day’s workload brings to Parra, there’s one common thread that resonates through his approach: the power of personal connections.

“It’s just, you talk to people on a real level, you give them real answers, and you show a bit of your personality—you laugh with them—and it’s really not hard to connect with people,” said Parra about how he connects with community members. “There’s no fakeness to it…I genuinely care for people and once they see me, they talk to me and know that, ‘This guy’s harmless, he’s just like one of my friends. An everyday guy who comes and likes to have a good time. He smiles, he’s laughing.’ If you’re personable like that, you can really do a lot in any kind of work.”

When asked about what he loves most about his role in public safety and community engagement, Parra remarked, “It’s meeting the people…When I’m with the community I feel like I’m a part of the group and I’m amongst friends. And when I’m with the police officers, they accept me into their group and I feel like I’m a part of a brotherhood. So I get the best of both worlds; I can jump from one to the other and feel equally accepted.”

“It’s an awesome feeling to feel like people care for you and that you’re respected and trusted in your job,” added Parra.

So what is Parra’s ultimate goal working at SF SAFE? “My ultimate goal is to have a better line of communication between the police department and the community. That always takes work. And sometimes it takes a middle person to relay the information and to hear both sides to try and find a middle ground.”

“So, being the conduit of information; providing the resources. But at the same time, the overall, ultimate goal is that, ‘We’re here to help.’ We’re not choosing sides, we’re just offering a service and we’re here to help,” added Parra.

Want to connect with Jorge Parra? Email him at jorge@sfsafe.org.

 

– Kathy Chouteau