February 25, 2016 Sarasota , Fl. Police Officers from the Homeless Outreach team volunteered to spend an evening at a local Salvation Army food station where they served dinner to the homeless of the area. Although these officers interact with many of these people on a daily basis some of the staff got to see the people that they help in a different light and many got to meet people that they never knew before.
Such as a Captain who was reported as being there to help feed people and talk with them who normally is not able to leave the office because of his duties there.
The Herald Tribune interviewed Sgt. Richie Schwieterman who stated that he thought i t was great that officers and the people that they served were able to meet and see each other. That the people being served knew the Officers were there to help them and hopefully bridge a gap that as between them.
“Any contact with us I hope is a positive contact … it’s a way for us to build trust and relationships in the community … to help build the partnerships we want.”
The Sarasota Police Homeless Outreach Team offers its own short-term housing service for those in need, according to Schwieterman, which works alongside the Salvation Army. The unit includes eight male beds and three female beds. Three other beds in the unit are left open in case of emergencies.