The Police Department has received inquiries relating to increases in homeless/transient persons throughout town and specifically along the Santa Ana River.
Like other California cities we have seen a marked increase in calls for service related to the homeless. In 2015 the Police Department responded to 523 homeless/transient-related calls for services; that number increased to 791 in 2016. Thus far in 2017 the Police Department has responded to nearly 200 related calls for service.
Four years ago, the Police Department appointed a Community Resource Officer (CRO) to respond and interact with homeless/transient persons. The CRO connects homeless/transient persons with information and services such as shelters, veterans services and mental health assistance. Our CRO works with our local businesses to address issues related to the homeless and also makes arrests where appropriate.
We are partnering with the Orange County Health Department who has assigned a mental health clinician to work alongside our CRO once a week. Although mental illness is not exclusively the domain of the homeless, the clinician will add a layer of follow-up and access to mental health resources to homeless persons in crisis.
Fountain Valley Police Officers receive the latest Crisis Incident Training, where Officers become proficient in best practices including de-escalation techniques.
Overall, the City is actively partnering with businesses and sister agencies to pool resources and identify short and long-term solutions.
These events stir debate over the impact on quality of life and crime, as well as service provision and fair treatment under the law. The river trail is the jurisdiction of the County of Orange and Sheriff’s Department. The Police Department stands ready to support their service and enforcement initiatives. When we identify a correlation to crime and homeless or transient persons enforcement action is taken. In short, the Department is committed to protecting property and maintaining our City’s quality of life while respecting the Constitutional rights and dignity of all persons.
These events stir debate over the impact on quality of life and crime, as well as providing services and fair treatment. While of particular concern because of its visibility, encampments along the river trail are the jurisdiction of the County of Orange and Sheriff’s Department; and the Police Department stands ready to support their initiatives in that area. Where crimes are committed and suspects are identified, and arrests have and will be made, regardless of housing status. The Department will continue to address these and associated quality of life issues with an eye towards protecting property and maintaining quality of life while respecting the Constitutional rights and dignity of all persons.