ORLANDO, Fla. - The Downtown Ambassadors Program officially starts Wednesday morning in City Hall Plaza.
Residents can keep a lookout for the team of 17 as they take to the streets, helping patrons navigate and stay safe in the City Beautiful.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and other city officials attended the program's launch, encouraging the ambassadors as they get ready for service by giving them custom hats for their uniforms.
Dyer said with more than 200 dining and entertainment locations downtown and more than 1,000 events downtown a year, the ambassadors will help meet the needs of the growing community.
"Today we are taking another major step in reaching that goal in becoming the nations highest quality urban environment," said Thomas Chatmon, executive director of the Downtown Development Board.
Some of their services will include safety escorting for workers and residents, helping visitors get to event venues, curbing aggressive panhandlers and more.
Ambassadors will also work closely with the Orlando Police and Fire Departments and the Health Care Center for the Homeless to provide direct outreach and public safety assistance in the community, officials say.
"We will be working hand-in-hand with our own police department with reporting crimes and suspicious activity and engaging with chronically homeless and connecting them with all the services we have for homelessness throughout the city," Chatmon said.
The ambassadors will be on foot, bikes and in one designated vehicle Monday-Friday starting as early as 7 a.m. and Saturday-Sunday as late as 11 p.m. The schedule is flexible and subject to change depending on events happening downtown, officials said.
Anyone in need of a downtown ambassadors can call or text 407-902-4374.
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