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Public Safety

Oceanside Police Build Connections With Homeless

A homeless man walks on a street in Oceanside, Oct. 30, 2015.
Promise Yee
A homeless man walks on a street in Oceanside, Oct. 30, 2015.

Oceanside Police Build Connections With Homeless
The Oceanside police Homeless Outreach Team, or HOT team, takes stock after one year as the first law enforcement social outreach team in North San Diego County.

Oceanside police's Homeless Outreach Team, or HOT team, has completed its initial year of operations as the first law enforcement social outreach team in North San Diego County.

Instead of using enforcement, the police team reaches out to homeless individuals and connects them with needed services.

Oceanside police Officer Josh Ferry said the first year was spent letting the community know the team's goal, which differs from traditional policing.

“As our society changes its needs, we've been changing as well," he said. "So we've been trying to look at things from a different approach and different angle: trying to get people service connected in a way that is not a traditional law enforcement type of approach. Letting people know that our primary goal is to get them service connected.”

Ferry said the team has been well received, has established good connections with service providers and changed the lives of some of the city's homeless. The HOT team works regularly with Interfaith Community Services and the Alpha Project.

The next steps for the team are to work closer with service providers by providing shared office space and getting a van, which would allow providers to ride along with the officers in the field.

“We're looking forward to just trying to have all of our networking we've done in the past year pay off," Ferry said. "And be more streamlined, where we can do more outreach and get in contact with folks that need help.”

North County has an estimated 1,500 homeless.

Corrected:
Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at promise.yee1@gmail.com. Twitter: @promisenews. Facebook: promise.yee.1