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Kamloops News

Ambassador program keeps downtown safe

In addition to providing information members of the downtown ambassador program help keep the streets safe for residents and visitors.
Image Credit: SOURCE/KCBIA

A downtown outreach program will offer to help to those who live on the streets by being a point of contact before their situation escalates to something requiring the assistance of police or by-law officers. If funding is secured, the program will kick-off the 2013 season in a little over a month.

Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association will begin recruitment later this month and general manager Gay Pooler is optimistic they will be able to hire the same number of patrols as in previous years.

“We are still waiting to hear on funding, but I anticipate we'll hire the same amount as previous years - seven or eight,” Pooler says.

The association runs the grant-funded ambassador program every summer and hopes to eventually be able to offer a year-round safety patrol position. In addition to offering safety patrols the program offers customer service and tourism information to visitors in the downtown area.

Pooler says the position is important because of the level of customer service, advocacy, information and safety they are able to provide to downtown visitors and businesses - though a key component of the program is the safety officer position, which sees members clean up drug paraphernalia and generally be the “eyes and ears” for authorities.

Having non-threatening people on the streets can be reassuring to many of the people who call the downtown streets and parks their home and safety patrols are often the first point of contact and the patrols help them reach the resources they need. This outreach is crucial to making sure everyone is taken care of and the streets remain safe, Pooler says.

Because of the work that can be involved, a lot of training is provided prior to crews hitting the streets for May long weekend, which is why Pooler will be accepting resumes and holding interviews later this month. Training will then start at the beginning of May and will cover things such as first aid, RCMP bike safety, outreach and needle safety, self defense and tourism. Because of the grant process only full-time returning post-secondary students will be hired to fill the full-time positions.

To contact a reporter for this story, email or call (250) 819-3723.


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