They won’t write citations, lead hikes or carry guns, but Glendale’s new volunteer trail watch guards will almost certainly be dealing with difficult people.
On Saturday, the roughly 20-person team got a lesson in “verbal judo,” as Glendale Police Officer Larry Ballesteros called it.
Ballesteros took on the roles of obnoxious people — like a 24-year-old thrill-seeking mountain biker “with 4 ounces of body fat” — and tested the volunteers.
Will Campbell, a freelance editor from Silver Lake, tried to persuade Ballesteros’ biker persona to slow down. But he kept coming at him with attitude. He had a pretend $15,000 bike. He showed Campbell scars from death-defying feats.
“I ain’t afraid of that trail,” Ballesteros said, folding his arms.
“Well, other people may be afraid of you,” Campbell replied in a parental tone.
Ballesteros’ response: “Old people need to get out of the way.”
About 5,000 acres of parkland and open space in Glendale were left unattended by permanent staff after the city laid off its park naturalists due to budget cuts more than a year ago.