Jacob Wasserman, a research project manager at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, commented in a Washington Post story about the nationwide growth of transit agency ambassador programs designed to reduce crime and augment security on public transportation. The civilian ambassadors provide additional “eyes and ears” for law enforcement, report maintenance and safety issues, and provide enhanced customer service, according to the article. While transit leaders say the programs have had some successes, the overall effectiveness is not yet clear since the positions are relatively new. The article also cited a 2021 University of California study that found that service referrals made by outreach workers, ambassadors and other aid workers were more effective, for example, at directing homeless people to shelters or treatment programs than referrals by police officers. “This is not what police want to be doing or are trained to be doing,” said Wasserman, co-author of the study.