Ambassadors start foot patrols in the Outer Sunset commercial corridor
San Francisco is adding more ambassadors in business and commercial corridors, including in the Outer Sunset, city officials announced Friday.
Before a merchant walk on Irving Street in front of the Asian grocery market, Sunset Super, city leaders last week announced the addition of 25 ambassadors who are part of the San Francisco Police Department’s ambassador program.
The ambassadors are unarmed retired police officers who will not only patrol the streets on foot, but are also able to coordinate and contact officers by radio for crimes in progress.
“This is an important part of our public safety strategy,” said Mayor London Breed.
The Mayor’s Office said a majority of the new ambassadors have been assigned to the Outer Sunset and Hayes Valley neighborhoods.
“This is what residents and business owners have been wanting for a long time and I’m so happy and grateful to have these retired officers here,” said Supervisor Joel Engardio, who represents the Outer Sunset neighborhood.
City leaders said the retired officers will help free up resources as the Police Department continues to face a shortage of police officers. The ambassadors can respond to calls for service that do not require a police presence.
“They know what they’re are doing in terms of what they’re looking at, when to call on-durty resources, how to engage with people, how to talk with people, how to deescalate and all the things we want do as Police Departmentat,” said Police Chief Bill Scott.
The ambassadors are assigned to work two days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, with the exception of Union Square and Chinatown, where ambassadors are scheduled to work seven days a week.
The hiring of the ambassadors comes as the Board of Supervisor last month approved the mayor’s $25.3 million budget supplemental for the Police Department that also lifted a hiring freeze in the department.
Other neighborhoods where ambassadors are assigned to patrol, include the West Portal, Castro and Fillmore neighborhoods.
Last November, Breed joined Scott and District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar in welcoming and introducing ambassadors to the West Portal neighborhood.