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Rapidly Expanding Downtown Program Adds 'Safety Ambassadors'

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

March 31, 2021 -- Starting Thursday, specially trained "Safety Ambassadors" will begin patrolling the Downtown to address quality of life issues and help deter unwanted behavior, according to Downtown officials.

The ambassadors -- who will wear distinctive uniforms and possess security guard credentials -- will assist Santa Monica police with "public nuisance incidents and criminal activity," officials for Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. said.

It is the fifth time DTSM's Ambassador Program has been expanded since it was launched 14 years ago.

In addition to helping Downtown workers, residents and visitors get around, the new ambassador team -- which ranges from two to five members depending on the time and day -- will patrol the Downtown on bike, segway, foot and vehicle and respond to incidents reported by businesses and patrons.

The ambassadors will "relay urgent public safety information to DTSM Command Center Dispatchers who will triage and place emergency or non-emergency calls to the Santa Monica Police and Fire departments as appropriate," officials said.

During an active emergency, Safety Ambassadors will remain at the scene until emergency responders arrive.

“The health and well-being of our community continues to be of paramount importance," said DTSM, Inc. CEO Kathleen Rawson.

"It is Downtown Santa Monica’s highest priority to provide a clean, safe and welcoming public environment for our residents, businesses and visitors.”

The expanded ambassador program, which is based on community feedback, will help DTSM "further focus on and enhance public safety in the district,” Rawson said.

All Safety Ambassadors will possess a valid “Guard Card” issued by the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Service that requires ongoing training and certification.

They also will be certified in first aid and CPR within the first 30 days on the job, Downtown officials said.

The new team will expand Downtown's Ambassador Program launched in 2007 that focuses on hospitality and enhanced maintenance.

The ambassadors inform visitors, offer safety escort services for employees, report maintenance issues and serve as witnesses against persons who commit crimes.

They may help tourists find their way to their hotels, guide merchants on how to deal with aggressive panhandlers or report things that need fixing -- from cracks on a sidewalk to graffiti on the wall of a parking structure.

After the Expo rail line opened Downtown in 2015, the program was expanded to Lincoln and the area around the station on Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue.

Two years later, in 2017 it was again expanded under a City contract to include two downtown-adjacent parks -- Tongva Park and Palisades Park. The following year Reed Park was added after residents complained the homeless had taken over the park.

In 2018, DTSM launched a team of Quality of Life Ambassadors "trained to address growing issues of homelessness, anti-social behavior, and criminal activity in the district," officials said.

With the addition of Safety Ambassadors, DTSM will expand its Downtown Safety Escort Service.

Employees and patrons can call or text the DTSM Ambassador Dispatch Center at 310.877.7731 to request an escort to their vehicle or other desired destination within the Downtown.

For more information on the Ambassador Program and scope of services, click here

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