The Laguna Beach Police Department offers community seminars to raise safety awareness

By DIANNE RUSSELL

The Community Safety Advisor for the Laguna Beach Police Department, Paul Lipscomb, brings 43 years of law enforcement experience to his “Safety & Situational Awareness” training seminars.

“I serve the Laguna Beach Police Department as a civilian contractor,” Lipscomb said. “The leadership within the police department is taking an assertive posture to deliver this program throughout the city for the benefit of the community.”

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Lipscomb has more than four decades of experience

Lipscomb’s primary role involves delivering safety and situational awareness presentations and instruction related to workplace violence and active shooter events. There’s no doubt this would be beneficial to businesses, hotels, restaurants, places of worship etc., as well as community members in general, who frequent them.

“Laguna Beach is a great city. It’s a tribute to the leadership (from Chief Jeff Calvert and through the ranks) that they take a proactive posture to community policing and personal involvement as peace officers in the City of Laguna Beach,” Lipscomb said. “It’s a blessing to see. I’ve worked for a variety of agencies, and I can tell you that the LBPD works hard for the community every day.”

History

Lipscomb was recruited by the police department to serve as a consultant, and the LBPD couldn’t have selected a more qualified person.

“I was asked to work with members of the police department to develop the program which fit with the mission statement and core values and here we are today,” Lipscomb said. “I believe all of my previous law experience helped me as far as presenting a good product to the public about threat awareness. One of the major points that I stress during the presentation is for people to be ‘aware of their surroundings,’ whether they’re in church, a school or a market. General awareness of one’s surroundings can help you and others save a life not just in an ‘active shooter’ situation but in the event of a fire, earthquake, etc. Have an ‘exit plan.’”

Lipscomb spent 24 years in the United States Secret Service where he served on special teams and gained expertise in investigations, intelligence and tactical operations. Lipscomb also served as assistant federal security director for the Department of Homeland Security/TSA at LAX.

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Secret Service credentials

A qualified expert in government, corporate and executive protection, Lipscomb has received specialized training in counter terrorism tactics, is experienced in evaluating and formulating threat assessments against people and property, and has experience with aviation security and maritime security matters.

Thus far, Lipscomb has conducted safety presentations at the Laguna Presbyterian Church, Laguna Montessori School and the Neighborhood Congregational Church.

Since the LBPD has school resource officers that are engaged daily with the schools, he isn’t involved in visiting schools.

“There are three responses to an ‘active shooter’ situation that should be in your ‘defensive tool bag,’” Lipscomb explained.

Besides being aware of your surroundings, Lipscomb talks about using these responses to defend yourself and help others to get out of a dangerous situation. He emphasized that they are suggestions – nothing is guaranteed – however, they represent three possible defensive scenarios in the event of an attacker. These defensive personal responsives are – run, hide, fight. “We examine these responses during the presentations. We get into it pretty deep and get

people thinking,” he said.

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Courtesy of LBPD

Lipscomb uses an interactive format for his training seminars

Lipscomb explained that his seminars are geared to involve the audience with the presentation.

“I don’t do a PowerPoint presentation and read off the screen,” he said. “I like to get the audience involved. I get them to talk about their experiences and ask, ‘what are your thoughts?’ The presentation usually goes on for an hour and a half to two hours, and it’s far above what you would normally get if you just read a training manual or had someone read the power point presentation from the screen, so it works nicely.”

The hope is, that with the publication of this article, community organizations, members and businesses will call Lipscomb to set up a training.

“The Police Department is 100% in support of this program and is proactive with getting the message out about our “situational/environment awareness program to our community here in Laguna Beach. The more we get the message out, in the event of an incident, the better,” he said. “Whether it be learning what to do if someone comes into a location and have that situational awareness of how to react and get out of a life-threatening situation.”

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Learn the three responses to a dangerous situation

Lipscomb added, “We also discuss that the response from the police department, fire department and other first responders will look like. This type of discussion provides important information to those attending the training and also provides a certain ‘comfort level.’”

Lipscomb offers practical and critically important advice that’s empowering if faced with a threatening situation.

Education and training are empowering

“Being the recipient of good training will always help you do something about it (the situation) to save yourself and others,” he said. “The more you know, the better. As I say often during the presentation, ‘you don’t have to be a police officer or a federal agent, to be aware or properly evaluate a possible dangerous situation and

the physical setting that you’re in. Listen to yourself, listen to your gut feelings because we all get the same feelings.”

Getting into the law enforcement profession

Lipscomb always knew he wanted to go into law enforcement. Born and raised in East Los Angeles, he tried to join the Secret Service when he was 20 years old.

His professional career started following his graduation from the California State University, Los Angeles, where he received a

B.S. degree in criminal justice.

Lipscomb’s service in law enforcement involved working for the following agencies:

–Five years, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – Deputy Sheriff.

–24 years, U.S. Secret Service – Assistant Special Agent in Charge (Ret)

–2.5 years, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Security Director for Law Enforcement – Los Angeles International Airport.

–12 years, L.A. Port Police, Deputy Chief of Police.

Since 2018, Lipscomb has served as a security/business development consultant to domestic and foreign companies involved in defense work, energy strategies, cyber security, nano technology and agriculture.

“I’ve been truly blessed in my career,” Lipscomb said. “I went to college, played basketball and graduated. I was admitted to Hastings Law School outside of San Francisco, but didn’t take that up. I always wanted to be a Secret Service agent so literally right after I graduated, I went to the Secret Service office in the old Federal Building in downtown L.A. knocked on the door and said, ‘here I am, I’m your answer.’ No one laughed.”

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Lipscomb would like to see this type of training in every community

An older senior agent said, “You have nothing to give us, why don’t you go find a job to give you some life experience and then come back and see us.”

However, Lipscomb had a vision. He walked out of there, went over to LA County Sheriff’s headquarters in downtown L.A. and 90 days later he was in the Sheriff’s Academy.

“It only took five years, and I was commissioned in March 1980 as a Secret Service Special Agent. I have a lot of good memories in

various categories during the course of the 43 years in this business that have given me the skill set to relate to the men and women of the Laguna Beach Police Department and the community,” Lipscomb said. “There’s probably many stories to tell (in my past), but I think the primary story is that my past has been a true education, which gives me the chance now to give back to the Laguna Beach community and Police Department.

“Other cities and counties across our country conduct similar training programs like we do,” he said. “I’d like to see this type of training in every community.”

According to the Safety and Workplace Violence Training flyer, the LBPD strives to ensure our community is educated on safety and always look for ways to increase preparedness.

“The police department is committed to getting this training delivered to the community. I’m excited to be part of this project, Lipscomb said.”

Hopefully, more businesses and community members will take advantage of the Laguna Beach Police Departments outreach to the community and schedule a training session.

Call Paul Lipscomb to schedule a seminar at 949.922.7814, or email him at plipscomb@lagunabeachcity.net.


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