Prudential Center security beefed up by Newark organization

By Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger
on April 06, 2014

Bryant Ponce, left, and Angel Rodriguez, right, Quality of Life Ambassadors, with The Quality of Life Ambassadors program, start patrolling the neighboring streets near the Prudential Center two hours before game time.

 

To serve and protect isn't just for the Newark Police Department. The Quality of Life Ambassadors share that same mission.

The ambassadors are security-and civic-minded folks who work for the Newark Downtown District, a nonprofit organization that was formed in 1998. Its mission is to help revitalize downtown Newark by economically improving its business district.

It also tries to improve life for the people who live and work in Newark by supplementing the cleaning in the city, offering marketing, safety and physical improvement services for nearly 0.61 square miles.

"They are a trained group of professionals who patrol on foot, bicycle, or Segway, and greet people, provide directions, and offer assistance in any way they can," Anthony McMillan, district CEO, said of the Quality of Life Ambassadors.

Although the ambassador program has been around since July 2013, it recently expanded to include patrols outside the Prudential Center.

Ambassadors help out at events like New Jersey Devils games and concerts, patrolling lots and streets outside the arena throughout the event, as well as two hours before and afterward. Besides their usual mission of greeting and assisting passers-by, the ambassadors outside the Prudential Center also tip police to "suspicious activities or quality-of-life related issues including panhandling, unlicensed vendors, disorderly conduct and illegal dumping," McMillan said."

The partnership with Pru Center started after the arena began sponsoring the ambassador program.

McMillan hopes other businesses will also step up to sponsor the ambassador program, because increased visibility will boost the perception that Newark is a safe place to visit year-round.

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