Sarasota Police Ambassadors to hit the streets

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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2014 1:48 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- They are called ambassadors--volunteers with the Sarasota Police Department and they will soon be walking downtown.

They will be easily recognizable in their royal blue shirts indicating that they are police volunteers.

"Those volunteers are a special group of volunteers who will actually be on foot patrol serving as walking kiosks, liaisons to the public. Answering questions, telling them where they can park and just being accessible to the public," stated Michelle Rinaca.

According to the Sarasota Police Department the ambassadors have completed the required proper training.

"We're going to walk around, have pamphlets and just let them know in general here's what you can do, here’s where you want to go and safe places for them,” stated Stephen Pustai.

Their patrol will begin at Selby Five Points Park and they'll be walking through downtown at various times of the day. However, because they are not officers, they will only be armed with a police radio and have no arrest capability.

"They have immediate access to dispatch and emergency services they are just serving as an additional set of eyes and ears for the community,” stated Michelle Rinaca.

"We're not allowed to interfere, we're not allowed to get involved but yes, just when people see these uniforms they know we are part of the Sarasota Police Department, " explained Stephen Pustai

Anthony Vento, is the owner of itesori on first street, and we asked him how he felt about having these volunteers out and about.

"I think it's a great idea I’ve been in other cities that have similar services. When they see someone who looks official on the street I think that they will really appreciate that they can get referred to some place or get directions to some place," explained Anthony Vento.

In the age of smart phones, with all the information you want at the touch of a button, Sarasota police say this unique service will add a personal touch.

The Sarasota Police Department calls the ambassador program an asset to the community, allowing police officers to focus on their essential law enforcement functions.

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