In the last few years, the City of Arcadia has seen an increase in local homeless and mental health population. Calls for service for police officers on a daily basis related to subjects who are homeless or suffer from a mental illness range from suspicious subjects loitering, sleeping to the front of a business or private property, disturbances associated to drinking in public, noise complaints, assaults, thefts, and at times, suicidal subjects.
Due to this increase, the Arcadia Police Department developed the Homeless Education and Liaison Program (H.E.L.P. Team) in December of 2015. Lt. Colleen Flores is assigned to manage the H.E.L.P. Team with the assistance of Sgts. Dan Crowther and Tony Juarez who oversee the team’s daily activities. The team is comprised of 6 Officers who share H.E.L.P. Team responsibility as an ancillary duty. These Officers are Gaddie Wider, Robert Rajewski, Cris Hoefflin, Kevin Fox, Carlos Quiroz, and Jordan Elders.
The Mission of the H.E.L.P. Team is, “To improve the quality of life in the City of Arcadia by reaching out to the homeless community and providing information, resources, and motivation with the ultimate goal of finding an alternative to life on the streets.”
About a year ago, H.E.L.P. Team member Officer Gaddie Wider came across a working, single mother and her children, living in their car in the City of Arcadia. This mother had been the victim of domestic abuse some years prior and had made the courageous decision to get herself and her children out of an abusive environment. This road had been a very difficult one for the family. With the assistance of a generous community donation, Officer Wider, Detective Fox, and the H.E.L.P. Team arranged for short-term housing for the family.
We are humbled to know the assistance our staff contributed to a positive change for this devoted mother and her children. They now share a home together and things are going very well for this family. The mother recently came by the station and brought a plaque of appreciation as a small token recognizing the “above and beyond” work by our H.E.L.P. Team, and in particular, Officer Wider and Detective Fox.
This post was originally published on January 4, 2018 at the Arcadia Police Department’s blog.