Retired officers hired to patrol Union Square during holiday season

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco police bringing back retired officers to walk the beat again in Union Square starting this holiday shopping season.

Two retired police officers are back on patrol in Union Square but their uniforms now read SFPD Community Ambassadors and they are walking the beat.

They check in with people who look like they might need a little help or chatting with merchants but now they are unarmed.  

SFPD Police Chief says the retired officers have undergone refresher courses in deescalation and crisis intervention training but when they hit the streets, they will be armed only with their years of experience.

“Because of their experience and background and policing, they understand what might be a problem before it becomes a problem and their job is to communicate that to their on duty officers if they can’t resolve that issue with the tools that they are given which is really their experience and they are no help in knowing how to deal with people,” Chief Bill Scott.

Retired officer Lee Dahlberg used to walk this beat as part of his job on the force.

“So we have our flashlight, we have a rubber gloves, we have a little medical kit, that’s what we’re gonna have in the city radio. That’s our go-between right now with what they are expecting from us to observe and report and use our knowledge and background to remedy a problem to defuse it as much as he possibly can. I did that for years down here. The duty belt I had yeah I had all the tools but it was few and far between that I ever had to use a baton or draw my gun or anything like that,” Dahlberg said. 

The plan is to have a minimum of four SFPD community ambassadors on patrol here in Union Square Wednesday through Sunday. 

If this goes well the police chief says they’d like to expand this program to other neighborhoods in the city.

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