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BID Program Spotlight: Public Safety Team

The BID’s seven Public Safety Officers (PSOs) patrol the neighborhood seven days a week to help foster a safe and enjoyable environment in the Flatiron District. Some of the Public Safety Team’s key duties are serving as the BID's eyes and ears on the street, as well as acting as local neighborhood ambassadors providing visitors with directions to subways, bus stops, and area landmarks. This year alone, the PSOs have assisted over 11,500 visitors in navigating the district and beyond.

Fresh off the busy summer visitor season, the BID staff asked Sam Ortiz Sr. (pictured above) to reflect on his role as a PSO. Sam has been a member of the team since 2007, but he has been coming to the Flatiron District since he was a kid and knows every block in the district like the back of his hand. Sam says that interacting with community members and visitors is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job, “people come from around the world to visit the Flatiron District, and I know that it is my job to help them have the best experience as possible. Being able to share my knowledge and appreciation of the district is something I look forward to every day.”

Aside from helping visitors find their way, the PSOs are responsible for surveying street conditions, noting graffiti and illegal flyer placements, and submitting various other quality of life issues to 311. The team also addresses issues such as panhandling, cyclists riding on sidewalks, and smoking in the Public Plazas. So far in 2015, the Public Safety Team has identified 314 pieces of graffiti for removal, and helped direct 1,699 cyclists to the appropriate bike lanes.

Sam credits the PSOs strong team chemistry and commitment to professionalism as the primary reasons for the team’s success. “We all realize that when we put on our uniforms we aren’t just representing ourselves, but that we are also ambassadors for the entire neighborhood, and we all take that responsibility very seriously.”

The Public Safety Team is contracted through ABM Security Services, and overseen by the BID’s Director of Operations, Scott Kimmins. Read more about the BID's Public Safety Program here.

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