Mercer Island Chase bank manager Rafael Calletano and his staff feel it’s important to be part of the tight-knit community.
Since Calletano took hold of the managerial reins at the Chase Island branch in 2021, he said he’s been fortunate to closely connect with customers and staff members. Locals have rolled out the welcome mat and reached out to the staff to get involved in community events, and Calletano said they’re excited to receive the invitations to participate in Island activities.
One way that the Chase staff is giving back to the community is by taking part in the Seattle Police Department’s Safe Place program, which was launched at downtown Seattle Chase branches in 2018 and came to the Island on April 4 of this year.
According to Chase spokesperson Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot, all of Chase’s 96 Western Washington branches are currently ingrained in the program that is focused on helping to reduce hate crimes as businesses serve as allies to the community.
Calletano explained the Safe Place program, which has garnered positive feedback from customers: “It trains us as employees to call and report hate crimes while giving someone a safe place until the police arrive. We just think it’s something that will help the community in general, because victims of any crime will see us as a safe harbor.”
Donahoe-Wilmot added that, “While the Safe Place program highlights the LGBTQ+ community logo, this critical program applies to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or age. Safety ‘for all’ is at the heart of what the program represents.”
Through investigation in recent months, the Mercer Island Police Department noted that it has not determined that there were any local victims of hate crimes.
Seattle Police Department officer Dorian Korieo said they are taking a positive step in partnering with local businesses to bring the crucial program to communities.
“It shows how important every single person (is), that their individuality is important and cherished, and they should not be afraid to be who they are. It starts to create a feeling of community and feeling of safety,” Korieo said.
Calletano said his diverse staff that comes from all colors and backgrounds is friendly and welcoming to the community and is thrilled to offer the Safe Place program on the Island.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is a vital part of Chase’s makeup, said Donahoe-Wilmot.
“We’re really committed to the culture of openness and believe that everyone should be treated equally,” she said. “Even though we’re part of a big corporate culture, we’re also part of the communities.”
For more information, visit https://www.seattle.gov/spd-safe-place/the-safe-place-program-and-spd.