In response to increased issues created by our homeless population, in 2012 the Quality of Life Team was formed. The goal of the team is to deal with the root causes of the existing issues and provide long term solutions, as opposed to the long standing practice of trying to eliminate the problem through enforcement efforts alone. Officers utilize partnerships with government agencies, businesses, faith based groups and non-profit service providers in a multi-disciplinary approach to provide life-changing assistance to those in need.
By assigning permanent staff to this team, the homeless population and those they might be impacting are able to get to know the officers on a personal level. These relationships facilitate better communication and eliminate the misconceived fears many homeless previously harbored towards law enforcement. In 2019, the team will be joined full-time by a Behavioral Health Specialist from the Riverside County Department of Mental Health Services. This will further enable the team properly identify the needs of the people they serve and coordinate the most appropriate services.
A key component to the success of the team is their participation in the Community Outreach Resource Program (CORP). Team members recommend candidates to the program, which allows them to complete a structured program though an authorized service provider. Those who successfully complete a program are able to have fines and low level crimes forgiven through the cooperation of the District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender. This innovative program, which has garnered national attention, allows participants to resolve issues that previously prevented them from obtaining a driver license or limited their job opportunities, therefore providing them with a permanent path away from homelessness.
Sergeant Alex Franco oversees the Quality of Life Team.