Police Chief’s Unique Program: Have Permit or Leave
A Nevada City police chief says he’s found a one-of-a-kind way to manage a growing problem in his city, and it’s putting the homeless on the hot seat, the Nevada City
While the new ordinance would give some homeless a place to stay, it would tell others, mostly the troublemakers and the criminals, to stay away.
“The goal is to start managing the homeless population within our city,” said Nevada City Police Chief James Wickham. Wickham had asked council members to pass a no-camping ordinance which was approved.
“It just basically means you can’t set up a tent. You can’t live in your vehicle. You can’t live in the woods in Nevada City,” he said. “That is, unless you have a permit.”
The police chief says his program is unique, making only a select few of the city’s homeless population an exception to the law– like William Peach.
“There’s some of us out there like me who try and want to blend in with the community,” said Peach, a homeless individual camping out in the rural areas of Nevada City.
“I come down here every fall and don’t want no trouble,” Barton said.
The new ordinance would essentially identify law-abiding homeless and reward them with a permit and hassle-free immunity as long as they behave appropriately.
For others, however, who come to Nevada City to commit crimes or
with a criminal history, well, they won’t be so lucky. They won’t be issued permits.
“Those are the ones we really don’t want in our city and that we’re trying to keep from camping in our city,” said Wickham.
“We’ve seen a huge upsurge in homeless people,” Teresa Mann said. Mann, who owns a business in downtown, says it’s about time– and so do the homeless who stay out of trouble and want trouble to stay away.
For now, the police chief will give out about six to 10 permits. He’ll check back in six months to see if the program is working. If it is, that’s when he says he’ll give out more.
Chief Wickham says he’s identified at least 60 homeless in his community, and 500 homeless countywide.
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(Posted by Skippy Massey)