Ofc. Stephen Anderson, PIO
Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 4:58 p.m.
Recently, the Pacific Northwest has been hit hard by an unprecedented heat wave which has affected communities all throughout the region. In Spokane, SPD has attempted to mitigate the risk to the most vulnerable members of our community living outside in extremely uncomfortable and dangerous conditions.
The value of human life is immeasurable, and SPD remains committed to serve all members of the community with integrity, professionalism and compassion. This week, SPD has partnered with other public agencies to strongly urge our homeless community to seek refuge at one of the City provided cooling shelters. Additionally, our Downtown Precinct officers along with our homeless outreach officers have been making every effort to provide community members on the street cold water and transportation to a cooling shelter.
As SPD conducts enforcement of city ordinances that the community expects, our officers will be visible amongst our homeless communities throughout the summer and beyond in the downtown corridor and other areas of the city. SPD values the right of every citizen to practice their 1st amendment rights to peacefully assemble, so long as those assemblies do not obstruct law enforcement activity in a manner which makes the interaction unsafe for the community, the officers and others working with our homeless. We have experienced multiple incidents where a small group has chosen to criminally interfere or otherwise obstruct efforts; those who intentionally disrupt the efforts of our outreach teams, code enforcement or SPD will be subject to citation/arrest.
SPD appreciates the patience and understanding of the community as we grapple with the complexities of enforcing the law while showing compassion to the most vulnerable amongst us. One of the primary objectives of homeless outreach is to steer unhoused people to services, enforcement is a last resort. SPD will continue to conduct outreach and enforcement in the professional manner Spokane has come to expect from its police department.
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