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Anaheim to train polite police

August 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Anaheim is training its employees, including police and taxi drivers, to be nice to tourists.Anaheim sees about 40 million tourists each year. Many of them stay at local Orange County hotels, eat at restaurants, and visit attractions like "The Happiest Place on Earth."

"It's pretty here. Really nice," said tourist Emily Wehlander.

Officials want to make sure that happiness exists even outside of Disneyland, and throughout the 1,100-acre resort area. Anaheim City Council approved a program to train workers on how to treat tourists well.

"This is just an opportunity to continue to build on that customer service. To remind people that no matter what role they play in the Anaheim resort, they have a role in making sure our customers, our visitors, and our residents feel welcome," said an official.

The program is aimed at training taxi drivers, police officers, firefighters and hotel workers. However, it does not come cheap. The estimated cost of the program is $90,000.

"To be nice to people in general ... that's kind of a simple thing to know already," said taxi driver Joanna Armendariz.

City officials say it's not just a matter of saying nice things to visitors; it's a chance to plug local businesses.

"It's also the opportunity to say, 'Hey, Garden Walk is open. Have you had a chance to go down to see the new restaurants and to see the new stores that have opened there?'," said an official.

The program does not use tax dollars. Local businesses pay for it through a special fund. Officials expect it will take six months to put together. The program is voluntary and city officials admit they don't know how many workers will sign up.

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