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Oceanside gets H.O.T.

Two officers assigned to police department's street outreach team

On November 18, Oceanside’s police department rolled out their new H.O.T. unit — their Homeless Outreach Team. The mission of the officers assigned to the H.O.T detail is to interact with the city's homeless and offer assistance.

On behalf of those who may not be able, the H.O.T. unit is trained to access the county’s social service and nonprofit agencies, County Mental Health, and Tri-City Medical Center. “At last we can assure we get them through the door to be seen,” said Lt. Karen Laser.

“It may be we drive them to the DMV to get a state ID card and then to the Social Security office to apply for benefits,” said Laser. “What’s that cost? A few hours of our time, and we just might get someone off the streets and back into society.”

Due to “a lot of psychological and drugs issues,” Laser said she recognizes about 30 percent of the homeless in the area don’t want assistance from the government, social service agencies, or the police.

As the downtown, beach, and harbor areas are part of Laser’s regular command, she communicates often with community and business groups about the homeless problem. Oceanside leaders recognize that homeless people walking around the streets don’t help the image of touristy downtown and the new hotels being built.

“They want to help, but they also don’t want the homeless to hurt their business,” Laser said. Many people think the homeless are bad people, Laser said, “But some homeless have just found themselves in a tough spot…. My hope is that we can redirect and educate the homeless.”

Officer Laser began researching the idea of a “proactive team” a year ago. She looked at San Diego Police Department’s H.O.T. operation, which has become a model for police agencies around the nation. With the support of her superiors, she petitioned city hall for funding. Two officers have been budgeted to work full time.

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On November 18, Oceanside’s police department rolled out their new H.O.T. unit — their Homeless Outreach Team. The mission of the officers assigned to the H.O.T detail is to interact with the city's homeless and offer assistance.

On behalf of those who may not be able, the H.O.T. unit is trained to access the county’s social service and nonprofit agencies, County Mental Health, and Tri-City Medical Center. “At last we can assure we get them through the door to be seen,” said Lt. Karen Laser.

“It may be we drive them to the DMV to get a state ID card and then to the Social Security office to apply for benefits,” said Laser. “What’s that cost? A few hours of our time, and we just might get someone off the streets and back into society.”

Due to “a lot of psychological and drugs issues,” Laser said she recognizes about 30 percent of the homeless in the area don’t want assistance from the government, social service agencies, or the police.

As the downtown, beach, and harbor areas are part of Laser’s regular command, she communicates often with community and business groups about the homeless problem. Oceanside leaders recognize that homeless people walking around the streets don’t help the image of touristy downtown and the new hotels being built.

“They want to help, but they also don’t want the homeless to hurt their business,” Laser said. Many people think the homeless are bad people, Laser said, “But some homeless have just found themselves in a tough spot…. My hope is that we can redirect and educate the homeless.”

Officer Laser began researching the idea of a “proactive team” a year ago. She looked at San Diego Police Department’s H.O.T. operation, which has become a model for police agencies around the nation. With the support of her superiors, she petitioned city hall for funding. Two officers have been budgeted to work full time.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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