Private security guards to supplement police patrols in downtown Santa Cruz

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SANTA CRUZ — Downtown visitors will see more uniformed officers patrolling Pacific Avenue this month, but the new faces will not be police.


A pilot program that puts private security guards downtown during the morning and early afternoon launches Saturday. The aim is to provide an increased police presence in the business district plagued by vagrants, vandalism and violence, according to police and city leaders.


Three First Alarm security guards trained in municipal ordinances and equipped with police radios will share the daily patrols, which augment regular policing in the area, according to Kevin Vogel, interim Santa Cruz police chief.