Aug 4, 2010 6:29 PM by Zach Thaxton
A three-person team of Colorado Springs Police officers who helped clean up homeless camps along the banks of Fountain Creek and Monument Creek has been nominated for an international award for their efforts.
The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is one of six finalists for the Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing, to be awarded at a conference in Arlington, Texas on September 30. According to Colorado Springs Police, HOT was formed to deal with the problem of growing numbers of homeless people throughout the city, but particularly those living in so-called "tent cities" near the confluence of Fountain Creek and Monument Creek. In cooperation with several advocacy agencies and homeless service providers, HOT helped facilitate transitions for nearly 600 homeless people in Colorado Springs.
Officer Brett Iverson, speaking on behalf of his two partners, said, "Taking a totally different approach over a year ago is what made the difference. Understanding the people themselves. Not just that they're homeless, it's 'why are you homeless?' Each and every individual. Over 500 people. We understood each story and knew the best way to help them as an individual."
Bob Holmes, executive director of Homeward Pikes Peak, says he'll accompany HOT to Arlington. He says their help in transitioning Colorado Springs' homeless into a better situation was immeasurably valuable. "I'm confident that they'll come back with the number one award," Holmes said.
HOT is competing against teams from the Dayton, Ohio Police Department, Houston Police Department, and three police agencies in the United Kingdom. "Just being in the top six is an honor in itself," said Officer Iverson. "Technically, we are winners just being a finalist."
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