As part of the Safe City project, an officer with Albuquerque Police Department was at our annual meeting last night. I am glad he came though I thought some of the things he said were disturbing. He said if there were people "shooting up in the laundrymat" to give him a call and he "would clean up and incarcerate them." He said if there were homeless people "loitering, getting drunk, and sleeping in your alley" he would similarly "clean them up." My eyes opened wide. It's not as if I am naive about police policies, but to have it be so at our annual meeting, I am still reeling. Especially as someone who works with the homeless and near homeless, it pains me to see people who are down on their luck so disregarded by law enforcement. I don't want to see crime in my neighborhood, however, I don't want my fellow citizens incarcerated and thrown away by an overly aggressive police force either. It was an eye-opener to be sure.

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Comment by Musashi on September 12, 2008 at 2:28pm
What do you figure he ought to do with them if they are drunk and lying in the alley,?
Just asking; Im presuming by "clean up" he meant to take them to a facility that would accept them [most wont accept them unitil they are sober].
The jail wont take them for protective custody anymore so if they go there, there must be charges... so basically they have to go to a hospital if they are really drunk. That usually will require an ambulance, a nurse and a bed, which takes all those things out of service if you get hurt and need them. It also is another reason your medical costs are so high.
Comment by David on September 12, 2008 at 2:29pm
No, he meant incarcerate them.
Comment by Musashi on September 12, 2008 at 2:31pm
Well then that requires charges, since homelessness is not a crime. You quoted him as saing ''clean them up'' and policy and statute would dictate that they have to be medically evaluated, sent to a hospital or mental health facility, or be charged with a violation of criminal ordinance or statute.
Comment by David on September 12, 2008 at 2:32pm
He didn't review those with us. It was incarceration-based.
Comment by Musashi on September 12, 2008 at 2:37pm
mmm, ok, well plenty of the homeless pickup so many little petty misdemeanor charges and since they dont ever receive their subpeonas [homeless afterall] they have a little $50 or $100 bench warrant about half the time. That is the only way that they can get summarily booked without a new charge based on what they are doing that required the response by police.
This town needs facilities that will take intoxicated transients, especially in winter when they risk exposure death at night if passed out or sleeping outside. BUt htere are way too few beds for them at the existing facilities


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