SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois State Police have released its Law Enforcement Response to Homelessness Guidebook, which is designed to offer policy examples for how police officers should deal with homeless residents.
“Law enforcement officers respond to all types of emergencies and social-service related calls among all populations, including people experiencing homelessness,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Because of these interactions, officers are in a position to provide information about resources and programs available in communities, and help connect individuals to longer-term solutions to prevent and end homelessness.”
According to the ISP, when responding to incidents in which homeless people are involved, officers often confront mental illness, substance abuse, and criminal activity.
The Guidebook provides an in-depth analysis of various strategies and programs that have been successful in addressing homelessness in other jurisdictions.
It deals with the role of specialized units that pair officers with mental health professionals, how to effectively manage homeless camps, property seizures, and court systems.
“Bolstering the crisis safety net is a pillar of our state plan to prevent and end homelessness,” said State Homelessness Chief Christine Haley. “Through this guidebook, the Illinois State Police provide concrete examples of compassionate and effective strategies on how police officers can serve residents living outside, strengthening the safety net for all.”