In the coming weeks, Huntington Beach will launch a new Ambassador program, where trained security will patrol Downtown and provide a higher degree of safety and hospitality for visitors and residents.
Under the guidance of Police Chief Rob Handy, the city decided to pursue the new program to curb bar crime and enhance Downtown’s reputation as a fun and safe place to visit.
Ambassadors will help the police address lower level crime, nuisance and drunk and disorderly issues, Handy said. Crime is down in Downtown, but some residents and community groups think otherwise. “They are going to be greeters and hospitality people for our visitors,” Handy said. “They will provide directions and restaurant and hotel advice.”
Many cities employ an ambassador program including, Long Beach, Waikiki, Atlanta and Phoenix.
Huntington Beach is creating a pilot program for the summer that will kick off sometime in mid July and will run 12 weeks. Officials have contracted with Executive Event Services, which is the same company used for security during the U.S. Open of Surfing and the Fourth of July.
The ambassadors will be licensed by the state and the police department is going to provide additional training. They will also get hospitality training by the staff of Visit Huntington Beach and will wear bright yellow shirts that say Downtown Ambassador, making them easily recognizable.
There will be one ambassador on duty during the daytime and two on duty at night, mostly to assist with bar issues. To assist with that, the police department is creating a radio channel that will connect the ambassadors with the bar security.
“The residents Downtown tolerate a lot, but they’ve pushed back the last few years and rightfully so,” he said. “We want people to come and enjoy the beach and our restaurants and our bars. We just want people to do it responsibly.”
Contact Tony at TDodero@behindthebadgeoc.com