A former head of casino security who helped overhaul the Boardwalk Ambassadors program now will lead the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority's Special Improvement Division.

Rick Santoro, the former executive vice president of asset protection and risk management at Trump Entertainment Resorts, was tapped Thursday as the new SID director. The position formerly held by now Mayor Don Guardian has been vacant since Guardian took office.

A Galloway Township resident, Santoro spent 30 years working in casino security before opening Interbrief.Org LLC, a security and risk management consulting firm. That firm acted as a consultant to the CRDA in 2012 as the agency revamped the Boardwalk Ambassadors program, which falls under the direction of the SID, in an effort to increase safety in the Tourism District.

Santoro was also once a member of the SID's board of directors. Prior to 2011, the SID was a non-profit organization but was later merged into the CRDA following the creation of the Atlantic City Tourism District in 2011.

"Clean and safe is a threshold initiative for the Tourism District and Mr. Santoro's background was very compelling," CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said in a statement. "He ... has demonstrated time and time again his understanding of how to build, improve and maintain a clean and safe environment for visitors, employees and residents alike."

Santoro worked in casino security from 1980 until 2010. He began working at the original Golden Nugget Atlantic City and then at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas. He returned to Atlantic City in 1991 and worked as a chief investigator for Resorts before joining Trump Entertainment Resorts. He headed the 350-member security team at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.

From 2005 to 2010, he served as the company's executive vice president of asset protection and risk management.

As head of the SID, Santoro will oversee landscaping, maintenance and Boardwalk Ambassadors in the Tourism District. He begins on April 21, CRDA spokeswoman Kim Butler said.

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