The Burlington Business Association, in partnership with the City of Burlington, is expanding its Downtown Safety program, the BBA announced recently.
The Burlington Downtown Ambassador Program will run through the holiday season and will provide critically needed services to the downtown community. Green Mountain Concert Services will provide Downtown Ambassadors from 2 pm to Midnight, Wednesday through Sunday.
“Ambassadors will ensure visitors have an inviting, informed and safe visit to Burlington,” the BBA said. They also will be a resource for downtown workers, helping them get to and from their workplace safely and coordinate with Howard Center Street Outreach and the Burlington Police Department (BPD). Downtown Ambassadors will be trained in city ordinance (open containers, etc.) education and de-escalation. They will be unarmed.
The Ambassadors will:
- Provide downtown retail, restaurant, and hospitality staff with a safe escort to or from their vehicle, building, hotel, or workplace within the downtown;
- To request a safety escort call or text 802-404-3444
- Be additional “eyes and ears” downtown, interfacing with BPD, Howard Center Street Outreach, and other community partners;
- Actively de-escalate disruptive disturbances downtown;
- Educate members of the community about City ordinances including open containers and smoking and biking on Church Street;
- Assist visitors with wayfinding to parking, public restrooms, and other amenities;
- Utilize SeeClickFix to report graffiti, found needles, and other non-emergency issues.
This program is funded by the City of Burlington and private donations. The program followed a Burlington City Council decision last June to reduce the number of city police officers.
Despite a recent City Council decision to raise the BPD roster cap, the city is still experiencing a shortage of police that is expected to continue indefinitely, due to the regional shortage of police officers and the lengthy time needed to recruit and train replacements.