Riverside plans to hire 'safety ambassadors' to patrol streets

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The Inland Empire city is planning to spend nearly $400,000 to hire more than a dozen "safety ambassadors" to help residents feel "safer" in its downtown area. (KABC)

A city in the Inland Empire is planning to spend $400,000 to hire more than a dozen "safety ambassadors" to help residents feel "safer" in its downtown area.

Riverside sees a half a million people downtown every holiday season for its "Festival of Lights." More people means more potential problems to Mayor Rusty Bailey.

"When you have a lot of people, there could be some issues, we just want people to feel safe," he said.

Bailey wants to hire "safety ambassadors" in about a month for an added measure of security in Riverside. They will not carry guns and will wear polo shirts to add to a "friendly appearance."

Some business owners like Sandra Jackson think the extra foot patrol could be another useful set of eyes.

"The other night a man was upset and broke her window with a chair, and it wasn't even that late at night, it was like seven or eight. And if they had more eyes out they could have described him better, seen which way he went," she claimed.

Other people like Dave Blanchete remain skeptical of the price tag associated with the "ambassadors."

"That's a lot of money to spend when we don't know how necessary and how much it's going to help anyways," he said.

Mayor Bailey emphasized public safety is the foundation of local government.

"If people don't feel safe, they're not going to come downtown," he said.

Related Topics:
safetysecuritypolice officerFestival of LightsRiversideRiverside County
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