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Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST)

In January of 2016, the Petaluma Police Department launched its first HOST (Homeless Outreach Services Team) program with one full time police officer dedicated to outreach and enforcement of the day to day issues that involve Petaluma’s homeless community. The PPD HOST Officer works hand in hand with COTS (Committee On The Shelterless), the Mary Isaak Center shelter and Santa Rosa Catholic Charities to bring outreach services to the homeless through daily contacts on the streets. The HOST Team provides information on services available to assist individuals with homelessness, addiction, Mental and Physical health needs with the main goal of assisting homeless in getting off the streets. A 2013 point in time count of homeless persons in Petaluma found 909 individuals living on our streets versus a count in 2015 which found 361. The Petaluma Police Department’s standpoint on homelessness in our city continues to be one of outreach first, enforcement second.


On any given day, it is common for homeless and transient related calls for service to make up at least 50% of the total call volume into Petaluma Police Department Dispatch. Those calls typically consist of reports of illegal homeless encampments, public intoxication, loitering and trespassing, aggressive panhandling, theft and illegal drug use. The PPD HOST Officer responds to all homeless related calls for service.


Additional functions of the Petaluma Police Department HOST Officer include locating homeless encampments throughout the City of Petaluma, providing outreach to the residents of those camps if possible and enforcement of laws violated in those camps such as possession of controlled substances, possession of stolen property, trespassing, camping and littering and depositing of hazardous waste when appropriate. Each camp located is posted with a 72 hour notice to vacate, giving the resident ample time to gather personal belongings before the site is scheduled for cleanup. Camp cleanups are the responsibility of the land owner whether public or private and at times are assisted by volunteer groups or the homeless themselves through the Mary Isaak Center Shelter. The HOST team works side by side with the Petaluma Police Department Dual Sport Motorcycle Team to contact camps throughout town, often located along the Petaluma River or SMART rail tracks not accessible by the standard PPD patrol vehicles.


In 2016, the Petaluma Police Department received grant funding from Cal-Recycle to fund one additional police officer to expand the HOST team to two full time officers. Additionally, The Petaluma Police Department is addressing the issues of chronic drug and alcohol abuse by our homeless by collaborating with agencies within Sonoma County, including Sonoma County Mental and Behavioral Health, the Petaluma Health Care District, Petaluma Heath Center, Petaluma Valley Hospital, Sutter Community Hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, Petaluma Fire Department, COTS and the Mary Isaak Center, Santa Rosa Catholic Charities and the Drug Abuse Alternatives Center. This collaborative, the Petaluma Sober Circle, will launch a pathway for positive change for community members who suffer from serial inebriation and related issues. The PSC is committed to providing a wraparound system of care including detox for these individuals as an alternative to being cited or arrested on “drunk in public” charges.


For further information regarding the Petaluma Police Department HOST team or to report illegal homeless activity or encampments, you can call HOST Officer Ryan DeBaeke at 707-778-4455 or email at rdebaeke@ci.petaluma.ca.us

For emergencies or in progress crimes dial 911.


 

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EMERGENCY: 911
EMERGENCY cell phone calls: 707.762.2727

 

Non-Emergency: 707.778.4372
Fax: 707.656.4059

Ken Savano, Chief of Police
969 Petaluma Blvd. North
Petaluma, CA 94952

 

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