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|PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT||October 26, 2023|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact Information: PolicePRUnit@slcgov.com
Media Request Form: https://slcpd.com/mediarequest/
SLCPD Highlights Work of Homeless Resource Center Squads
SALT LAKE CITY — Today, the Salt Lake City Police Department released data highlighting the work of its Homeless Resource Center (HRC) squads.
“These squads serve as conduits to healthcare, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment,” said Chief Mike Brown. “But more importantly, they are helping to foster positive relationships between law enforcement and our unsheltered community. Having these specialized squads is part of the city’s ongoing approach of being proactive and responsive to the very unique needs of our growing community.”
The Salt Lake City Police Department’s HRC squads are improving the safety and overall well-being of both the unsheltered and the surrounding community at, and around, the Gail Miller Resource Center and the Geraldine E. King Women’s Resource Center.
The Salt Lake City Police Department seeks balance in its duties to enforce the law, prioritize public safety, and reduce victimization while simultaneously demonstrating compassion and empathy for the city’s unsheltered community.
Each homeless resource center has a squad of one SLCPD sergeant and five SLCPD officers. These officers take calls for service around the resource centers to help patrol officers, serve as conduits to essential needs such as healthcare, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment, and to help foster positive relationships between law enforcement and the unsheltered community.
The two squads became fully operational on July 09, 2023, and are grant funded through the State of Utah.
Since that time, the SLCPD HRC squads have taken nearly 1,400 calls for service, which includes calls generated through proactive policing; made nearly 2,900 business contacts; conducted 45 operations designed to go after criminals who prey on the vulnerable; made nearly 250 custodial arrests; and have referred nearly 10,000 people to services, whether that’s through the Salt Lake City Police Department’s social workers, the department’s victim advocates, the resource centers themselves, or referring people to the SLC mobile app.
“Our commitment to making this community a safer and more welcoming place has been unwavering,” said Sergeant Ryan Sanders, who oversees the Geraldine E. King Women’s Resource Center Squad.
“This arrest highlights the serious threat that drugs pose to our community and our resolve to combat it,” Sgt. Sanders added.
“We engage our community thoroughly,” said Sergeant Nate Meinzer, who oversees the Gail Miller Resource Center Squad. “Our number one goal is to work with the community and empower our community because together…we can enforce the laws that are on the books and start to reduce the crime we see and make a true difference.”
Sgt. Meinzer discussed his squad’s “New Hope Initiative.” This program partners with the community to provide tokens to local businesses. These tokens are then used by businesses that witness good deeds happening in the community, positive interaction, or kindness. As the community members witness an act deserving of recognition, they will give the community member-in-need a coin to express their appreciation. The token can then be traded in at the resource center for a $5 gift card.
Sgt. Meinzer’s squad hosts weekly events with the Gail Miller Resource Center to engage with community members.
Several photos of the two HRC squads are being released. Media may use these photos with credit to the Salt Lake City Police Department.
A copy of the news conference can be obtained by clicking here.
1 – Officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Gail Miller Resource Center squad conduct a welfare check on a man found near 300 West Paramount Avenue (SLCPD photo, August 23, 2023).
2 – A man found near 300 West Paramount Avenue is checked by paramedics after SLCPD HRC officer determined he was dehydrated (SLCPD photo, August 23, 2023).
3 – A Salt Lake City Police officer assigned to the Homeless Resource Center (HRC) squad, watches as paramedics help a man after the officer found the man dehydrated sitting up against a fence (SLCPD photo, August 23, 2023).
4 – SLCPD Sgt. Nate Meinzer speaks to a man dehydrated and works to connect the man with services after being evaluated by paramedics (SLCPD photo, August 23, 2023).
5 – A Salt Lake City Police officer assigned to the Homeless Resource Center Squad speaks to a community member about getting access to a shelter (SLCPD photo, September 21, 2023).
6 – An officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Homeless Resource Center Squad talks to community members who are illegally camping along 700 South (SLCPD photo, September 21, 2023).