As temperatures continue to drop, police in Warr Acres said they're receiving more calls regarding people suffering from mental illness and homelessness. They urge the public to always call 911, however, in some circumstances, there is only so much that can be done.
The department said its responded to anywhere between three to six calls a week.
“We're finding that often times in the early morning when business owners or property owners come into work, they’re finding homeless individuals who are seeking refuge in laundry rooms or in alcoves of businesses,” said Lt. Tom Green from War Acres Police. “Most of the time, they just generally want us to get them to vacate the premise.”
Much of the time, that is exactly what happens. What officers can do after that, is slim.
“We can transport them to a shelter, we can transport them to a mental health facility, but unfortunately, most of the time they don’t' want our help,” said Green. “They just want to be left alone. We either leave them alone or ask to help vacate the premises.”
As winter slowly approaches, officers are prepared for the trend to continue, reminding residents they are only a call away.
“Being a mental health consumer is not a crime, they have the same rights as every other citizen, so we are going to treat them accordingly,” said Green.
Seven police officers at the Warr Acres Police Department have undergone 40 hours of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training in addition to two hours of training mandated by the State of Oklahoma.
Warr Acres police stress to never hesitate to give them a call under any circumstance.