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Sheriff's Office to clean out west side camps Wednesday - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Sheriff's Office to clean out west side camps Wednesday

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El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Bill Huffor searches a homeless camp under the bridge at Ridge Road and US HWY 24 El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Bill Huffor searches a homeless camp under the bridge at Ridge Road and US HWY 24
EL PASO COUNTY -

Sheriff's deputies will begin enforcing trespassing violations Wednesday morning for the dozens of homeless people illegally camped along Fountain Creek on the West Side.

As News 5 has reported, several fires started in the area recently and the pollution and public health concerns brought on by the camps have neighbors on edge.
Lt. Bill Huffor with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office walked a foot patrol through the camps Tuesday to alert campers of the pending enforcement action.
"We posted (notices at) this camp last Saturday, we came down yesterday to remind them, came down again to remind them just to let them know the clean up starts tomorrow," Huffor said. 

Jillian Likness, who is running on the Republican ticket for State House District 18, joined Huffor on his patrol to see the conditions up close.

"The community's been really concerned and I wanted to get as much of a first-hand look as I could," she said.

Business owners on the west side told us last week that they are about warming fires spreading into the historic business district and causing widespread damage. they also showed us this box of hypodermic needles as an indication of the public health threats at the camps.

Huffor said he has reminded each camper he's met that the Salvation Army's 150-bed winter warming shelter on Weber Street is now open.

"To my knowledge, it has not been filled to capacity every night since it's been open. So, we're encouraging them to go there in the evenings."

For some campers though, coming in out of the cold isn't as easy as it sounds.

"They have a lot of property, significant amounts of things that they don't want to lose and so, it's that issue as well," Likness explained.

The Salvation Army told News 5 that the Weber Street shelter recorded its highest attendance of the season last night with nearly 90 people staying. 

They want the campers to know that there is some space available indoors to store personal belonging and that security cameras in their parking lot will watch over any shopping carts stored there. 

The charity group also hires private security guards to keep everyone safe inside the shelter. There offer kennels to house pets and say that person does not have to be sober to get inside. However, they cannot use drugs or alcohol once they're admitted.

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