“THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A BLUEPRINT FOR ALL CITY AGENCIES HELPING THEM INCREASE SENSITIVITY TO OUR COMMUNITY.”
A series of sensitivity training programs were initiated today for New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). Organized by Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), the programs, which took place at the TLC Enforcement Division in Queens, were designed to increase awareness among TLC officers of the Jewish community’s unique culture. Boro Park community activist Tzvi Gluck also presented part of the sensitivity training program.
“The Jewish community has a charity-oriented culture and a volunteer culture that we are extremely proud of,” said Hikind, who closed the training session. “Our community members are eager to help the needy and those who can use extra help, so it’s not surprising that we have so many organizations that provide free transportation services. It’s important to know who these volunteers are, who the organizations they work for are, and what they do so their work isn’t impeded and no mistakes are made by TLC officers who are trying to do their jobs.”
Last month, Assemblyman Hikind met with Meera Joshi, Commissioner/Chair of New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, as well as other TLC top brass, to review new practices and procedures that would best allow charity volunteers–as well as parents participating in carpools–to transport those in need without interference from TLC agents.The meeting followed an unfortunate incident on June 2 that resulted in a volunteer from Brooklyn’s Chesed organization receiving a summons and having his car impounded after attempting to transport a woman in need of cancer treatment as well as another woman who also needed medical care. After the Chesed volunteer’s car was impounded, the two passengers in need of medical attention were left stranded near a cemetery without other means of transportation.
Following the incident, Hikind has worked closely with Chesed, Misaskim and the Shomrim to prevent further unfortunate incidents. The initiation of sensitivity training classes for TLC officers was proposed to coincide with new protocols that included the issuance of identification cards to Chesed volunteers, allowing individuals to easily identify themselves and their function; phone numbers supplied to the TLC; allowing officers to contact charity group dispatchers to ascertain that a driver is indeed performing volunteer charity duties; and better sensitivity training of TLC officers educating them with respect to community traditions and standard procedures (such as the frequent use of carpools).
“The Taxi and Limousine Commission has taken our request for better communication and greater awareness very seriously, and I commend them for this,” said Hikind.