Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"HOT Team" expands

Posted by on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 4:37 PM

click to enlarge The HOT Team's original trio.
  • The HOT Team's original trio.
The Colorado Springs Police Department is expanding its Homeless Outreach Team, a group of specially trained officers that work with the homeless.

The HOT Team was formed shortly after the city banned outdoor camping in early 2010, and subsequently cleared out a huge tent settlement near downtown known as Tent City. The HOT officers have the authority to ticket homeless people who break the rule, but they try to work with people first by connecting them to services and temporary housing. 

Apparently, the city feels the approach has been a success. The HOT Team is adding a fourth officer, cross-training another officer, and has a new volunteer.

From Sgt. Jeff Stromer:

I wanted to inform everyone of a few significant and exciting improvements here at the Homeless Outreach Team.

First, we have hired a fourth team member, Officer Chris Kelly. Many of you are familiar with Chris when he worked TDY with the HOT for about 6 months. Over the last year he has been a great asset working with my other team in the Downtown Area. He has extensive experience in community policing and I know he will be a wonderful addition to the HOT.

Second, we are cross training Officer Tim Kippel to take on some HOT responsibilities in conjunction with his current duties on the west side. Tim is currently dedicated to patrolling West Colorado Ave. With his work on the Westside he has noticed the needs of the homeless and desires to serve this special population. He is being cross trained to help identify their specific needs to hopefully connect with you to provide appropriate services.

Third, we have hired a volunteer, Dr. Joe Hanson. Some of you met Joe at the CHAP meeting. Joe’s background is research and Computer Science. HOT has been teaching the public that it costs about $54,000 year/individual to take care of a homeless person however this has been based on 2001 research. We felt it was time to refresh our knowledge. Joe will be renewing the research to see on average how much the taxpayers spend on a homeless individual in Colorado Springs. If anyone has any suggestions, contacts, or research that would add to this project please reach out Joe at hansonjo@ci.colospgs.co.us Once the project is completed, Joe will assist the HOT with answering the high volume of phone messages and emails received each day by our team.

I am really pleased to see how we have expanded our resources to serve our homeless community. Please welcome all of our new members! 

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