Pueblo police return to homeless camps, write tickets

Pueblo police conduct cleanup at homeless camp for 2nd time in a month

PUEBLO, Colo. - For the third time this season, Pueblo police went to homeless camps in open spaces within the city, this time ready to write tickets.

"We don't want you to burn up and we don't want somebody getting hurt trying to, you know, deal with the fire here," Pueblo police Sgt. Frank Ortega told a homeless man who was living in a camp on the city's northside.

Ortega said it's a priority of his to stay on top of the homeless issue in Pueblo.

"The first thing is the fire danger. Then the other thing is, [there are] environmental concerns. There's a lot of trash as you see when you go with us and it's kind of a bad situation just letting them stay down there," Ortega said.

Many of these camps were only accessible by all-terrain vehicles. Staying out of sight and out of mind is the goal of the homeless, but when they take over an area of the city, Ortega said that's when it's time to step in.

"You know we have a lot of other problems, but it's a significant problem," Ortega said.

Some of the people they spoke to were given a warning because they hadn't had contact with the police before. But others were given a ticket.

Ortega said now is the time to write tickets because the city has seen fires in the riverbed that have been started by occupants of the homeless camps.

People in one camp were written a ticket because the people had a fire going inside of their tent. 

"We're mapping these camps to know if there's a flood or a fire," Ortega said.

The police don't want to kick these people out of their homes, but more than that they want safety for everyone in the community.

Ortega said there were fewer people at the camps than the last time police did the sweeps.

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