Pueblo law enforcement conduct homeless outreach

Pueblo law enforcement conduct homeless outreach

PUEBLO, Colo. - Within the city of Pueblo homeless camps are everywhere. Thick trees and brush hide them in places you would never look twice at.

As a way to get a handle on them, Pueblo law enforcement officers targeted areas and took to the trails to help find the camps, record them and if there were people in them, explain why they can't be there. 

"Obviously we have a pretty big problem with sleeping on the river bottom," said Corp. Lee Karr to a homeless man living off of Jerry Murphy Road.

Officers say the point of the outreach isn't to give out tickets but give them options and prevent any worse incidents.

"I'm not a fireman, but as you can see, there's a lot of dry vegetation, it's real heavily wooded, a lot of weeds and stuff. If a fire started going and the wind was in the wrong way, it'd be really really bad," said Sgt. Frank Ortega.

But fire isn't the only issue. The amount of trash and debris at some of these camps is unbelievable.

"The landowner here, he tried to start cleaning up the camps and he took out three dumpsters and he still has a lot more to go," Ortega said.

A camp off of Eagleridge behind Texas Roadhouse has been named North Pueblo Estates because of the permanence of the structures.

Officers say once people get comfortable living off the grid, they also stop following the rules.

"A lot of heavy drug use, there's needles all over the place," Ortega said.

All of the people contacted were given warnings. But if they are still there next time the police come back, they will end up with a ticket and a hefty fine.

The Pueblo Police, fire department, sheriff's office, Beulah fire and Union Pacific and BNSF police were all involved in the outreach.

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