Longmont hires private security to patrol downtown area, parks and greenway

Ambassadors will help give police a break
Posted at 3:21 PM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 19:36:51-04

LONGMONT, Colo. -- The City of Longmont is trying a new tactic to help keep the city safe this summer.

With homeless issues peaking along the Front Range during summer months, many police departments — including Longmont's — are seeing officers spending more and more time dealing with issues involving trespassing, loitering and confrontations.

This year, the city is teaming up with the Longmont Downtown Development Authority to fund an "ambassador" program.

"We have hired private security to be ambassadors to the downtown, the parks and our greenway area," said Assistant City Manager Sandi Seader. "The idea of the program is to be there to help visitors and residents to keep the places clean and safe."

Seader said the ambassadors will not replace police.

"But if they see something that's happening, they will have the ability to call 911 and will hopefully have some skills to be able to de-escalate conflict and that kind of thing."

There have been conflicts among some homeless men who hang out in the area of 17th and Main Street.

"I've been kicked in the face," said a man named Rico. "I was attacked by people who don't like homeless people."

Rico told Denver7 that homeless people congregate in the shade and stay together for safety.

Welcoming Presence 

Seader said the ambassadors won't be a roving security force.

"There are two people who will be working for 12 weeks, who will really be there to help our residents, our visitors and our businesses to be able to get around downtown and to be able to use our parks and greenways and really just have a good time in Longmont this summer."

"For our purposes downtown," said Kimberlee McKee, of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, "we want to make sure these people are doing things like asking people to dismount their bikes in the dismount zone, and things like that that make the experience much more enjoyable for everyone. 

The city has contracted with the Trident Protection Group for the pilot program.

While the ambassadors won't be armed, other than the possibility of carrying mace in some locations, and won't have law enforcement authority, they will have the ability to "tag" camps with the standard 24-hour notice for removal.

The program is slated to launch on Monday.