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TPD reaches out to help homeless man

Posted at 4:18 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 21:30:23-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A man experiencing homelessness is now getting the services he needs after a visit from Tucson police. It’s part of their new homeless outreach program.

Police recently responded to reports of a man camped out for days in front of the Ward 6 offices. But they weren’t there to arrest him.

"He was very articulate, very smart, a kind and gentle person it seemed to me,” said Officer Josh Parrish. “Just kind of stuck and he wasn’t sure where to go.”

Officer Parrish was able to get this man where he needed to go.

“The Center of Opportunity is great because they have wrap around services, they will help you get housing, help you get a job, dental and medical help or whatever you need.

The Tucson Police Department’s homeless outreach team started 6 months ago. They are trained to match people suffering from homelessness with needed services.

“Help get that vulnerable population connected with those professionals,” said TPD Homeless Outreach Team Supervisor Sgt. Jack Julsing. “Because many times the police are the entry point or first contact for individuals that are homeless.”

The team says it’s a different kind of policing.

“It is really cool getting to work with people and do follow ups and hearing their stories and getting to know them while I’m helping them turn their life around it's a really good feeling getting to turn that narrative around,” said Officer Josh Parrish.

Parrish hopes he'll see the man again. But under different circumstances.

“Hopefully he is able to complete the program and get back on his feet,” said Officer Josh Parrish. “He told me he likes to cook pizza that is his favorite thing so I'm hoping I see him at a restaurant in a few weeks hopefully.”