Homeless: Police hope to resume camp sweeps

       City police will present a plan to City Council at its Feb. 24 meeting that would allow homeless-camp clean-ups to resume, Police Chief Richard Myers told council at its meeting Feb. 9.
       “We can do this now without modifying any ordinances, and if later we find we need to we can come back,” he said.
       The only direction police will need from City Council is an OK to resume the cleanups, Myers pointed out. “The mayor [Lionel Rivera] indicated we wouldn't do any cleanups until a strategy is in place, and we feel this is the strategy, so the feedback we want from council is to proceed.”
       Rivera had ordered the cleanup “sweeps” by city police and city-contracted Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful to stop in October after lawsuits were threatened by two individuals who claimed that the rights of homeless veterans were being violated. The allegations were that, along with trash, key personal possessions were disappearing in the sweeps of the illegal camps (including some along Fountain Creek on the Westside).
       “The key for me back then was ensuring we had ordinances in place” that allowed us to do what the strategy is,” Rivera said at the Feb. 9 meeting.
       The issue had been raised at the meeting by Council member Jerry Heimlicher. With four months having passed since the mayor's order, he said, “I want to be sure the meeting in two weeks actually will give us some direction for moving forward,” he said.
       In related news, homeless spokesman Patrick Ayers said some of the “campers” will be doing a cleanup of their own along Fountain Creek Friday-Sunday Feb. 13- 15.

Westside Pioneer article