Police response to homelessness

Reporter Cristian Sida went on a ride-along with Grand Junction Police to see how officers interact with the homeless first-hand.
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 10:32 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - An exclusive follow-up and up-close look at what Grand Junction police are doing to reduce homelessness. We’ve told you how city officials struggle with vandalism in park bathrooms and how businesses say the problems are not improving.

“We have a pretty good relationship with most of the homeless, and we don’t really have any problems talking with them. They’re usually pretty easy to talk to us,” said Corporal Bob Culver.

Over the last few years, the interaction between police officers and homeless people has increased. Corporal Culver is part of the department’s community resource unit. He has built connections with many homeless folks by checking up on them weekly.

“A lot of times, we’re not there necessarily enforce a law. That might be part of it,” said Culver. Officers try to provide homeless people with some kind of help.

“We’re going to try to hook them up with resources and try to understand their problem to find them or those resources,” added Culver.

Some will accept the help, and others will decline. “When you’re looking at people that are living along the river and stuff, they’ve probably been homeless for a while, and it’s because of addictions and mental health that will keep them from taking the help,” said Culver.

Culver said it’s not always easy to get them to accept the help, “And then a lot of time they may have taken help in the past and they failed out of that, and so then they’re homeless again.” He explained that not all of the tools in their tool belt are meant to fix the homeless problem, but with their efforts and the help of other organizations, they’ve made a difference and will continue to do just that.

“Together combined, the more times they get asked, the better chance of getting them connected to the right services to help them out,” said Culver.

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