Project Turn – Los Angeles Alternative Policing with Yoga, Meditation, Healing Circles

The City of Los Angeles has launched “Project Turn” – an alternative policing plan meant to handle traumatic situations with unarmed civilians. “Turn” stands for “Therapeutic Unarmed Response for Neighborhoods.” They believe it will teach people how to handle “retaliatory violence.”  $2.2 Million later it won’t teach them how to duck and run.

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, a champion of Project Turn, launched the program on Monday. It initially will be to teach 100 intervention workers how to provide services such as trauma training with Yoga, Meditation, and healing circles to the communities and the homeless population in particular.  Los Angeles has over 64,000 homeless people and pressure has come upon the city to handle it.

Screenshot of Los Angeles homeless via LA Times

“Community-based public safety workers are regularly exposed to high trauma environments and providing comprehensive training and support is an important tenet of how our City will deliver transformative change and strengthen our public safety response and create more equitable investment in a community based public safety model.” Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez

The work they are expecting of these workers is highly dangerous- they are only paid $40,000 a year. They are already members of the neighborhoods, so they know the families involved. The city hopes they will be able to de-escalate situations prior to the need for law enforcement.

“These folks are born and bred in their respective neighborhoods. They know the terrain. They know the families … They’ll have more intelligence in terms of what’s happening in the street than law enforcement will ever have.” Aqeela Sherrills, co-founder of the Community Based Public Safety Collective

Another danger in this program is that people in those neighborhoods could start thinking of the intervention workers as “snitches” – which could be the death nell of the program, not to mention the workers.

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These ideas always sound good. But the fact is that people who are caught up in “retaliatory violence” rarely listen to rational ideas. There are things like adrenaline, hate, drugs, mental illness, and weird belief systems involved. Unarmed civilian workers are at great risk in such situations. Police officers are taught de-escalation techniques too, but they don’t always work in certain cases. Project Turn may be able to reach a handful of people, but it also could get workers killed.



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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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