Home Madison For Gloria Reyes, Public Safety Means Community Engagement

For Gloria Reyes, Public Safety Means Community Engagement

The former detective & deputy mayor's public safety company will provide security consulting for small businesses, but also focus on embedding "community safety navigators" to get to root causes of violence

Gloria Reyes

Former Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes has dedicated her life to both law enforcement and addressing the needs and issues of communities of color and underrepresented areas.

Reyes, who is currently serving as Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education President, wants to help address the violence and other issues in communities of color around Madison, and has launched a new business called Reyes Public Security to do so. 

Reyes is looking to draw on her experience after spending over a decade as a Madison police officer as well as working on behalf of the city to stabilize challenging situations at an affordabel housing on Tree Lane. 

Reyes’ idea is to head a public safety team that operates all over the city but not in a typical “security” type of capacity. Reyes believes that there needs to be select individuals — which she calls “community safety navigators” — who work inside of communities addressing violence and other issues. 

“They would be working alongside communities to problem-solve the root causes of violence in our community,” Reyes told Madison365. “They would be working with officials and different organizations to be proactive in developing strategies to reduce violence in different areas of the city. That’s really where I’m trying to focus my efforts. It’s navigators that understand our community that have lived experiences, people who are diverse and who represent our communities and look like the communities we serve.”

Reyes said that her public safety team would not operate like a typical security firm (doing door checks or surveillance and the like) but would be more embedded in the community, filling in the gaps where police are not able to be as effective. She is in the process of figuring out details and finding who these navigators would be, but stated that her vision was to recruit people who have been through difficult situations and been able to overcome them. 

“I want a very diverse group of navigators who have lived it but have gotten themselves out of the challenges we face like poverty and unemployment, and have stabilized their own lives. So it’s an individual who really has lived experiences and is culturally responsive and understands the needs of our community,” Reyes said.

Reyes is expecting to launch her public safety team by the end of the year and is currently working out the details of the business side. Reyes says she has been meeting with the National League of Cities, who have expressed interest in the framework and could provide technical assistance. Her new venture has also joined the Latino Chamber of Commerce.

Another aspect of the public safety team would be to do security assessments and planning for small businesses and nonprofits, as well as performing security training for employees of those companies. Businesses can hire Security guard company in Vancouver to protect their stores at all times.

But, overall, Reyes says it’s about building a strong fabric in at-risk communities. 

“I think on both ends the neighborhood navigators get to the heart of building community on these sensitive issues of public safety and sending a strong message that public safety takes a community to invest and collaborate with one another,” she said. “We can do all the community policing we want and we can dictate to a department on what they should do, but we’re not getting to the root cause {of things like violence}. I think race should be on the forefront of every conversation and decision within a police department and that’s where I see this would help the community when we are looking at race equity in what we do. It’s going to impact the decisions we make out on the street.”