Half a dozen people have been hired by The City of Denver as a "Street Enforcement Team" to hand out tickets to violators of the city's urban camping ban.
Those experiencing homelessness have received sympathy in regards to their encampments in the past but have been getting more and more complaints from the residents living near them about the drugs, crime, and uncleanliness.
The Assistant Deputy Executive Director for Denver's Department of Public Safety, Armando Saldate, stated, "The focus here isn’t to use enforcement, but there does have to be a consequence if we can’t get them to move otherwise."
The uniformed civilians that the city is planning to use would help the police to provide a less threatening encounter.
Several advocates for the homeless population are not fond of the idea. According to a spokesman for the group Homeless Out Loud, Benjamin Dunning, "It’s just another escalation for ways in which the mayor has influence to invade the camps."
The civilians hired to go out to the sites are going to receive various types of training from Denver Fire, the Sheriff's Department, the City Attorney's Office, the Department of Housing Stability, and Denver health so they can be prepared on handling any situations they may meet. The citizens joining the Street Enforcement Team will also not be armed.
Homeless advocates and the city have not been seeing eye to eye lately. Protestors carried tents that read "Home Run for the Homeless" earlier this week in an attempt to march to Coors Field at the start of the MLB All-Star Game but they were blocked by the police.
One of the protesters, John Staughton, stated, "As we moved we were met with larger and larger opposition from police, including a SWAT team came in.”
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