Safety Ambassador Program
By Jessica Nguyen
Imagine you’re in Downtown Stockton. After seeing a movie and relaxing in those reclining seats, you walk to your car and notice that you have a flat tire. You think to yourself, “how inconvenient! It’s late and I just wanted to get home!” Now picture this next scenario — you just finished your nighttime shift but your car is parked a few blocks away. You feel a little nervous about walking all that way on your own. Well here’s some good news — these are just a couple situations that Downtown Stockton’s new Safety Ambassador Program can assist you with! Whether you need help pumping a flat tire, having someone safely escort you to your car, finding a building, or something else along those lines, the Safety Ambassador on duty can be there to help. If they cannot directly assist you, they will find someone who can!
What do Safety Ambassadors do?
Michael Huber, the Downtown Stockton Alliance’s Executive Director, explains that Safety Ambassadors do not serve as downtown security. Instead, they are better described as “social service agents,” as their duties include engaging and lending a helping hand to those in the Downtown Stockton area. This new program, set to officially begin at the start of February, will offer a 22 hour patrol, 7 days a week (excluding the time between 3pm-5pm). Along with receiving training to help strengthen skills such as engaging the public and contacting the appropriate services, the new Safety Ambassadors will also be certified in pepper spray and CPR.
You can call the Ambassadors’ direct line when you need them at 209.451.7775, but you may also run into them in Downtown Stockton while they are patrolling the areas. Ambassadors will be wearing tactical vests over blue shirts with the orange and black DSA Safety Ambassador patch adorning their left shoulders.
First Call Program
The DSA will also be implementing a First Call Program. Many downtown business owners do not live near the downtown area, and are thus unable to quickly respond in the event that their business’s alarms are triggered. To help with this, the DSA can now be listed as “first call,” meaning they will be alerted as soon as alarms sound off. Although the ambassadors do not have the power to take anyone into custody, they can try to prevent robbers from taking any items.
Who will lead this new team?
Mike felt inspired to start the Safety Ambassador Program after attending a conference in Los Angeles and learning about other downtown locations that currently have the program in place. He decided to set the plan into action and recruited Ace, who will serve as the Safety Ambassador Supervisor. Ace, a Stockton resident since 1985, has multiple years of experience in security and has even served in the military. He explains that 90% of security isn’t the “security” part, but is “dealing with people.” Ace explains that these important interpersonal skills are acquired over years of experience, and that one must, “come up with a methodology for moving people.” Being able to do this will ultimately help you to better aid them.
Ace is excited to come on board as supervisor, and is looking forward to “making some type of change downtown.” In other words, he’d like downtown to blossom into an environment where visitors can come, have a good time, and positively experience all Stockton has to offer. He says it best when he exclaims, “this is a great area, but it can be even greater.” Well, the new Safety Ambassador Program will help us get there!