Frankford Safety Ambassadors program grows, adds detail team

The Safety Ambassadors Program in Frankford is growing, despite one source of its revenue remaining uncertain at the month’s end.

Last week, a two-person ‘detail’ team and another two ambassadors joined the revived program that patrols the Frankford Avenue corridor. Where the now six  Safety Ambassadors walk the avenue — escorting patrons, talking to shop owners and maintaining a consistent uniformed presence — the detail team will work to remove graffiti, trash and grime.

“We are making an impact on the avenue for very little cost to the businesses that are trying to survive there,” said Tim Wisniewski, the Frankford Civic Association treasurer and executive director of the Frankford Special Services District, which is funded by assessments totaling between $70,000 and $80,000 on the businesses that are within the 4100- and 5300-blocks of Frankford Avenue, from Adams Avenue to Bridge Street.

The original four Safety Ambassadors and their supervisor. Two more ambassadors and a two-person detail team have since been added.
(The original four Safety Ambassadors and their supervisor. Two more ambassadors and a two-person detail team have since been added.)

“We’ve seen a real change already,” said Wisniewski, 22, of the program, which brought boots on the street in June.

The avenue is patrolled by the program from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The ambassadors program is a return to a similar initiative on the avenue from the late 1990s, reports the Frankford Gazette, which also notes that the ambassador uniforms are from Frankford Avenue retail landmark Cramer’s Uniforms.

The program is using the previously unused Philadelphia Police trailer on the avenue at Foulkrod Street as headquarters.

The project is something of a labor of love for Wisniewski, who grew up in Frankford but now lives in Port Richmond. He first sought to revive the program three years ago when he was working for then-Councilman Dan Savage.

Common quality-of-life problems that that ambassadors are suited for handling — allowing police to focus on other matters — are loitering, littering, trash-dumping and early-stage suspicious activity.

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