FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

S.C. Chief: Homelessness Is Not a Crime

August 29, 2013  | 

The Columbia (S.C.) Police chief is pushing back on a City Council plan to divert homeless people from the city center, telling The State that "homelessness is not a crime."

Interim Chief Ruben Santiago has told city officials that officers can't transport homeless adults to the riverfront shelter nor can police tell them they would be charged with a nuisance offense if they refuse.

Councilman Cameron Runyan, who proposed assigning officers to enforce public nuisance offenses, criticized the chief Monday. "Santiago is the one who said in the (Aug. 5 City Hall) meeting that they could transport people," he said.

Chief Santiago said his officers "have to have the legal right" to question of take anyone into custody.

Tags: Homeless, Columbia (S.C.) PD


Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Capt. Crunch @ 9/2/2013 1:04 PM

Gee I thought a homeless person was a person who lost their home and I agree this is not a crime. But if you are a vagrant and cause any type of public nuisance then I feel you are committing a crime and you should be dealt with by the police. If Chief Santiago, feels sorry for the vagrants maybe he should let them camp out on in the back yard of his home this way the vagrants will have a home and not be homeless.

Marco @ 9/4/2013 10:52 AM

I read the whole article in The State. Nowhere in there does it say the chief is refusing to enforce the law. He is right. Homelessness is not a crime, and to involuntarily take someone where they do not wish to go false arrest at the low end, up to abduction. If someone commits a crime, that is dealt with separately. The crux of the article seems to be where funding for the 9 officers to patrol the area will come from, since it is yet to be budgeted.

Ima Leprechaun @ 9/4/2013 4:56 PM

Perhaps just a little creative reading in Federal Case Law might help this Chief. These types of ordinances were ruled civil rights violations by the US Supreme Court way back in the early 1970's. One good civil rights law suit could cost that city millions.

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Video: NYPD Says Hatchet Attack an Act of Terror
A broad-daylight hatchet assault on a group of New York police officers -- leaving one...
Update: 2 California Deputies Killed in Shooting Spree
Sacramento County, Calif., Sheriff’s Dep. Danny Oliver was killed in this morning's...
Lenco Bearcat Played Critical Role in Stockton Robbery, Hostage Response
Lenco Industries, Inc., has announced that the City of Stockton, Calif.’s BearCat tactical...
Video: NYC Hatchet-wielding Attacker Might Have Terrorism Ties
The NYPD has issued a patrol bulletin alerting officers to be in a state of heightened...
DOJ Condemns Leaks of Ferguson Shooting Evidence
New details from the inquiry into Michael Brown’s Aug. 9 death — all provided by...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine