• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 13s

Police work to disperse camps, connect homeless to services

By KTVA Alaska 7:24 AM May 9, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

They can be dangerous and dirty, but for too many in Anchorage, homeless camps are the only option.

A day after municipal leaders praised their progress with a 10-year plan to reduce Anchorage’s homeless population, the Anchorage Police Department’s Community Action Policing team offered an inside look at the work that still needs to be done.

As the weather in Anchorage warms up, police said more and more homeless camps are popping up.

“This is a wildlife area, this is a green belt and they’re leaving garbage and fecal matter in the area and it’s just not good for our land,” said senior officer Will Cameron.

Cameron, along with senior officer Nathan Mitchell is a member of the CAP team -  a group of just 4 officers tasked with taking down all of the homeless camps in Anchorage, one tent or teepee at a time.

“Instead of coming out and being the big bad cops arresting people, we try to come out and connect them with resources to see if they can help themselves,” Cameron said.

But telling people with little to lose that they need to pack up what they have and move isn’t always a walk in the park.

“It’s dangerous, even for the police to come in,” Cameron said. “We don’t like contacting people that have knives and hatchets and axes.”

Aside from items that could be used as weapons, another serious concern is open burning. Mitchell said that was made apparent Thursday by a pile of smoldering ashes sitting just a few feet away from an area in the woods that burned down due to an open burn at another homeless camp.

“This stuff lights up and burns real quick,” Cameron said. “The next thing you know, you’ve got a forest fire going on.”

The CAP team said the municipality’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, now in its ninth year, has been working.

“There were a lot more than there is now, I would say probably a couple hundred camps,” Cameron said. “Now, I would say there are 20-25 hardcore groups of people that just don’t want to change.”

But they said more must be done to address Anchorage’s homeless population.

“We all have to work together on this program and this problem to find a solution and a resource,” Cameron said.

Until that happens, officers said they’ll continue combing Anchorage’s woods in search of the souls they said have fallen — hard — through the cracks.

Officers said it is never a good idea for the public to approach a homeless camp. Instead, they said people should take down the location and details of a camp and alert police.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Alaska National Guard Emails

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 24, 21:12

    The state released thousands of emails related to the Alaska National Guard scandal late Friday afternoon. It’s been more than 5 months since they’ve handed over any of the information they were ordered to give the media last year. In October, a judge ruled that then Governor Sean Parnell’s office must provide any correspondence that […]

  • Sports

    Thomas Wins 31st Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year

    by Dave Goldman on Apr 24, 20:42

    The junior ran away with it. It’s been said many times in Cody Thomas’s illustrious career. It also described his path on Friday night as the 2014-15 Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year. The New Zealander claimed the honor at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s athletic banquet at the Lucy Cuddy Center. Thomas’ list of accomplishments not only set the […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, April 24

    by KTVA Weather on Apr 24, 20:40

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Mostly cloudy skies for southern areas of the Kenai. Most of the area with some rain showers in the mountains, south of Clam Gulch, and on the east side of the Kenai.   Southeast Expect lots of sunshine for northern and central areas with more clouds and a chance for afternoon […]

  • News

    Change in the Guard: new adjutant general’s vision

    by Bonney Bowman on Apr 24, 18:47

    A West Point graduate with 30 years of active-duty experience, new Alaska State Commissioner and Adjutant General Laurie Hummel says she has a vision to make Alaskans proud of the Alaska National Guard once again. She came out of retirement to tackle the challenging position. “If you’re going to go back to work and get […]

  • Politics

    Leaders raise potential of budget vote without reserve draw

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 18:32

    Legislative leaders have raised the potential of passing a state spending plan without a vote authorizing a draw from Alaska’s constitutional budget reserve fund. House Speaker Mike Chenault said if the House and Senate majorities reach an agreement on education funding, they could finish up the budgets and leave. As of late Friday afternoon, an […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage police seeking potential victims in harassment case

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 24, 17:08

    ANCHORAGE — The Anchorage Police Department says there may be more victims of a man accused of inappropriately touching children at the Anchor Lutheran School. Adam Wilkinson, 32, worked for the school as a Child Watch employee between 1999 and 2014, and recently entered a guilty plea on a single count of first-degree harassment, police […]

  • News

    Nenana Ice Classic: Winning time is 2:25 p.m.

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 24, 16:59

    Nenana Ice Classic officials say the official winning time for the 2015 Nenana Ice Classic is 2:25 p.m. Alaska Standard Time on April 24. The jackpot for ticket holders with the winning time is $330,330. The payoff for 2015′s jackpot will be awarded June 1, according to NIC website. The tripod tipped over onto the […]

  • News

    A Moving Target: Stopping booze at the river

    by Ben Matheson / KYUK on Apr 24, 14:56

    Citizens in Bethel are weighing a decision on a proposal for the for the first liquor store in decades. In the shadow of the debate is a powerful and elaborate bootlegging economy across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The region’s three Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Taskforce investigators can’t be everywhere at once. Some villages are trying to fill […]