The SFPD's Community Ambassador Program, in which retired, civilian officers are deployed to do foot patrols and deter crime, is expanding by 50 percent, as Mayor London Breed and SFPD Chief Bill Scott announced Friday.
The city will be adding 25 more ambassadors who will be deployed to six neighborhoods, as part of the newly approved additional budget money for the SFPD. The unarmed, retired officers will be making appearances in the Outer Sunset, Hayes Valley, Castro, Fillmore, West Portal, and Fisherman's Wharf, and are able to address non-emergency calls.
"Our public safety commitment goes beyond enforcing laws and making arrests. It also means finding creative solutions that most effectively and efficiently reduce community harms while engaging with, and building relationships with, our diverse communities," says Chief Scott in a statement.
"Public safety in our neighborhoods means having both police officers and ambassadors working together to support our residents and merchants,” Mayor Breed said in a release. "These retired SFPD officers have the knowledge and experience to help recognize challenges and call for help, allowing our police officers to be available for calls that require a police response, and to focus on investigations and disrupting crime."
This expansion will bring the total number of retired officers in the program to 74, up from 49. The mayor said in today's release that more ambassadors are being added in the Mission District next month as well.
The SFPD's Community Ambassador Program should not be confused with the "street ambassadors" that the city has deployed in Union Square around the holidays, in the Tenderloin, and that Mayor Breed continues to talk about in regard to downtown revitalization. Those ambassadors are employees of the nonprofit Urban Alchemy, and they act as ersatz security guards and mediators to handle and deter quality-of-life issues.
The Community Ambassador Program launched in mid-2020 with 10 retired officers each working 20 hours per week. Their duties include reporting crime to the SFPD and coordinating responses, addressing quality-of-life concerns, building relationships with merchants and community members, and coordinating with community partners.
Related: Supervisors Give SFPD Significant Pay Raise, Starting Salary Now $103,000