Archive for the ‘Police & Crime’ Category

CHP investigating shooting of two people on Hwy 4 in Pittsburg Thursday night

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

A shooting occurred on westbound SR-4, west of Railroad Avenue at around 10:00 PM Thursday night, May 6, 2021. A driver and his passenger were shot at in what appears to be an attempted road rage incident. The driver and passenger sustained non-life-threatening injuries as a result of this shooting and were transported to a local hospital for treatment. The unknown suspect fled the scene in an unknown vehicle subsequent to the shooting.

Detectives assigned to CHP – Golden Gate Division Special Investigations Unit (SIU) are actively investigating this shooting. Our detectives are requesting assistance from the public in gathering the details surrounding this incident. If you or anyone you know have any information that might be helpful, please call the CHP Investigative Tipline at 707.917.4491.

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Teen girl shot, killed in Antioch Friday night

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

By Lieutenant John Fortner, Antioch Police Department Investigations Bureau

On Friday,  May 7, 2021, at approximately 6:02 PM, Antioch police officers responded to the 3300 block of Sunset Lane for a female that was shot.

Numerous officers responded to the scene. When officers arrived, they located a female victim face down in a residential front yard suffering from one gunshot wound to the chest. Evidence at the scene indicated the shooting occurred outdoors. Officers immediately began administering first aid and called for emergency fire department and AMR paramedics.

Unfortunately, the female victim succumbed to her injuries and she was pronounced deceased at the scene. The suspect(s) fled the scene and have not been contacted. Currently, there are no suspect leads.

Antioch Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigators and detectives with the Violent Crimes and Special Operations Units responded to the scene and took over the investigation.

Currently, detectives are contacting witnesses and working to identify any suspects or persons-of-interest. The investigation is still active, and evidence is being collected and evaluated.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441, or Detective Thomas Smith at (925) 779-6876. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Mayor, councilwoman, parks commission chair propose programs for Antioch youth, reducing gun violence, ammunition storage ordinance

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe speaks at a press conference about youth programs and violence prevention, in front of the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Family Park, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

By Allen Payton

During a press conference Thursday morning, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, along with District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Marie Arce, introduced several proposals for youth programs, including summer and after school jobs and internships, as well as more school safety staff and an ordinance on keeping ammunition separate from guns in the home. (See complete video of press conference it begins at the 1:55 mark)

Thorpe first introduced the city’s new Parks and Recreation Department director, Brad Helfenberger.

“I worked for the City of Emeryville creating new programs for youth,” he said. “I look forward to working with the city council in investing in our youth.”

Thorpe then spoke about youth in the community.

“Antioch is the second largest city in our county and growing because of youth,” he said. “Kids under age 18 make up a third of Antioch’s population.”

He then introduced, “my new homegirls from (Diablo Valley) Mom’s Demand Action.” Seven members attended the press conference, including some from East County, but none of the 99 members they claim live in Antioch were in attendance.

Thorpe then shared some statistics saying, “Roughly 72% of Antioch’s students are on free and reduced lunch. 30% of them are English learners. Currently, only 49% of students are meeting the state reading standards and in mathematics 60% of our children don’t meet state standards. When our seniors graduate high school, only 23% of students are prepared to go to a four-year college or university.”

“Please don’t take this as an indictment on our school system,” he continued. “My hats off to our local teachers for the many instances of beating the odds by taking a kid living in absolute chaos and producing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first round NFL draft pick, Najee Harrs; producing an undrafted free agent like Isaiah Dunn and taking him all the way to the New York JETS; taking a kid living on the streets of Antioch with his family, like Sage Bennett, providing him a little stability during the day and preparing him to become a full ride scholarship recipient at UC Berkeley.”

“Right now, at Antioch High School, there is a 16-year-old little girl, who immigrated here from Asia, who literally just learned English a few years ago, getting ready to graduate and enter a pre-dental program at the University of the Pacific,” Thorpe shared.

“By no means is this an indictment on our school system,” he reiterated. “However, it is an indictment on all of us and what our values reflect.”

“In Antioch, we’ve placed a high premium on criminalizing kids than we have on investing in their development,” Thorpe continued. “Don’t take my word for it, look at the city’s budget, its plain as day. And yet, we only seem to talk about our youth when something bad has happened, to point out what they’re not doing right and with absolute contempt.”

“That’s not right,” he stated. “But as mayor, I want our young people to know that I hear you. I hear you when it comes to after-school programs, summer job opportunities, a space for you to express yourselves, equity and safety in our community and much, much more.”

Six Summer Youth Programs

“This summer, we are going to be launching six youth-centererd, pilot programs from May to August, as a way to offer youth alternatives to the streets,” Thorpe stated. “One of these programs is called the Middle School Pop Up Park Program. This will be the city’s first program that specially targets middle school students as our summer recreational programs do not tailor to middle school aged students.”

“These pilot programs will help us gather data and determine scalability,” he continued. “In addition, I’ll be advancing four measures at the May 25th council meeting to aid in this effort.”

Those four proposals include the following:

  1. Develop Midnight Basketball initiative that targets middle and high school students:
  2. Acquire property for youth to legally and safely use off-road vehicles such as ATV’s, dirt bikes, etc.
  3. Continue the Summer Bus Pass initiative
  4. Develop a Parks and Recreation rate structure for AUSD students who qualify for the Free or Reduced Lunch Program to increase access to summer recreational programming

Thorpe also mentioned expanding the Council of Teens.

“We’ll be launching a COVID-19 workforce program…and build an Antioch internship program focusing on ages 18-24 or 15-24,” he shared.

Thorpe mentioned few more proposed initiatives, including a Youth Art Expression program.

Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Arce then spoke, saying that the Youth Services Advisory Committee gave input in the development of the programs. She focused on the issue of access and affordability.

“We created a mock enrollment to enroll two adults and two children” but “the enrollment fee would consume 42% of income” of those or those on the free school lunch program “and 30% of income” for those who qualify for the reduced lunch program.

The plan is to offer the programs for free to those who qualify.

Gun Violence Prevention

Thorpe then spoke about long-term strategies for community-led violence prevention and intervention strategies.

“Obviously, violence continues to be a challenge for many Bay Area cities including Antioch,” he stated. “We all know, gun violence is a national problem and Antioch is not immune from it. In some parts of Antioch gun violence is a normal occurrence.”

Thorpe spoke of the resolution that the city council recently approved in support of federal legislation on gun violence.

Torres-Walker then spoke on the issue saying, “I have lived in this community for six years. My first experience was gun violence. There were many efforts but nothing sustainable because the city lacked the will and the resources.”

“On March 29th I was informed by the police chief that the Antioch Police Department and Oakland Police Department were working together,” she shared. “The press release of April 15 was no surprise to me.”

“Now my son can walk to the store, safely,” Torres-Walker stated. “I informed the chief that we are not going to arrest our way out of this problem. The chief agreed. Those on the Gang Violence Task Force also agreed.”

“We need to curb gun violence in Antioch to make our city safe,” she continued. “But not just gun violence, all violence is up during the pandemic.”

She then spoke of “establishing a task force that will be led by the community and supported by experts…and our police department who show up after violence has occurred but not curb violence.”

Proposed Safe Ammunition Storage Ordinance

Thorpe then shared that he will “be advancing three items for the (May) 25th (council meeting)” including “a Community Led Violence Task Force and an ordinance for safe storage of ammunition.”

Michelle Sinnott, an Alamo resident and Co-Lead of Diablo Valley Moms Demand Action, spoke about gun ownership in America and the impact of gun violence against Black Americans.

“There are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, or enough for every man, woman and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over,” she stated. “From March through May 2020, an estimated 5.9 million guns were sold, an 80% increase over the same time period (the previous) year.”

“Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by gun violence,” Sinnott continued. “They experience nearly 10 times the gun homicides, 15 times the gun assaults and three times the fatal police shootings of white Americans.”

“Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens,” she shared. “More than 1,800 children and teens die by gun homicide every year. For children under the age of 13, these gun homicides most frequently occur in the home and are often connected to domestic or family violence. Black children and teens are 14 times more likely than white children and teens of the same age to die by gun homicide. Black Americans are nearly two times as likely to die from COVID 19 as white Americans and four times as likely to die from gun suicide.”

“Street outreach programs like the ones being proposed by the mayor and Council Member Walker are associated with up to 37% reductions of gun injuries,” said Sinnott. “Violence intervention programs provide evidence and community informed comprehensive support to individuals who are at the greatest risk of gunshot victimization.”

She then spoke of safe storage of guns and ammunition saying, “secure storage prevents shootings by disrupting unauthorized access to firearms.  Make our homes and communities safer by storing guns securely.  Store them locked and unloaded, separate from ammunition.”

“That is what the ordinance would require,” Sinnott explained.

“An estimated 54% of gun owners do not lock their guns securely,” she continued. “Every year 350 children under the age of 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else; 4.6 million children live in homes with at least one unsecured gun; and 80% of gunfire on school grounds occurred because shooters under the age of 18 got their gun from their home or a home of friends and relatives.”

“Suicide is impulsive, and with COVID and increasing isolation the number of suicides is growing,” Sinnott shared. “Assume children and teens can find guns and keep those weapons locked and unloaded to save lives. We saw a 30% increase in unintentional shooting deaths by children in March through May of 2020 versus March through May average over the past three years.”

“The idea that these devices defeat the purpose of owning a gun for self-defense is simply not true,” she stated. “There are many affordable options for firearms that provide owners with quick access to their guns.

“Moms Demand Action support these measures. Let’s make Antioch safer for everyone,” Sinnott concluded.

Long-Term Recreation Programming

“The last item is long term recreation programming,” Thorpe shared. “We’ve got to invest in our children.”

Arce spoke again saying, “we also reached out to community-based organizations. Our programs should be
equitable, sustainable programs for our youth. We have several great community organizations that want to partner with us.”

She then spoke of food access through farmers markets.

“Downtown residents lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Arce said and proposed a youth-run farmers market to learn directly from farmers and learn sustainable farming. “It reduces carbon emissions and increases biodiversity.”

“We can add some after school and summer programs and possibly create Antioch’s own farm,” she continued. Arce spoke of the desire “to create an inclusive environment for youth with all abilities. There is a lack of space, accessibility and parental knowledge. Many spend their days in our parks because it’s free. But during winter months this is a health risk.”

“We are proposing our rec department offer access to programs, and include wrap-around services,” she added.

She then proposed “an All-Abilities Day at the Antioch Water Park” and “after school and summer programs.”

“The youth focus group does not represent all the youth of Antioch,” Arce pointed out.

She then mentioned a “music development program and workshop partnering with LMC and use of their recording studio.”

“We can also partner with CBO’s (community-based organizations)” Arce said, mentioning a basketball program and community garden. “A dedicated space for them to feel safe and welcome.”

She then spoke of “opportunities to connect with employers. Possibly a job fair.”

“The youth would like to see our trails and traffic safety improved so they can travel to school,” Arce continued. “We can create a safe and enjoyable space for our youth in Antioch.”

Thorpe then spoke of “five additional measures to proactively deal with traffic and school safety issues, including private schools” including possible traffic calming devices and a “bicycle garden that will provide hands-on bicycle, pedestrian, and driver safety education designed for both programmed and independent learning in a comfortable, fun, permanent, car-free facility.”

“One of the difficult things as an elected official is to hear the cries of a grieving mother no matter what the circumstances…as they express what they want changed,” he said, then spoke of the mother of Jonathan Parker, the Deer Valley High Student shot and killed following a basketball game, last year.

“Only one simple goal, that we prevent from happening to others what happened to her son,” Thorpe stated. “What she’s asked for is extra security at major AUSD events.”

He then spoke of authorizing police officer overtime for major after school events and suggested Neighborhood Watch members to volunteer at basketball and football games.

“We just need people…watching our children to ensure these events are more safe for our young people,” the mayor added.

Torres-Walker then spoke about “increased campus safety at our local schools.”

“For many years I’ve had the opportunity to work on school safety and environment as a parent and advocate,” she said.

“We operate in a deficit love for our young people,” Torres-Walker said, quoting a pastor.

She spoke of the student, last year who tried to become a student trustee on the Antioch School Board, but was not appointed. That was because the student hadn’t followed the required rules.

“Our school district is not the only perpetrator of this deficit love,” Torres-Walker said. “I’m sure our students feel this deficit love when they don’t feel safe going to and coming from school.”

She then spoke of “school climate and school site safety plans to hire school safety professionals to make our schools safe. We also need people prepared to address safety on our campuses.”

“I’m also recommending we review the REACH program,” Torres-Walker said. “I have heard this program has had much success, but I have not received reports.” She spoke of making changes “or get rid of it if it’s not working for our young folks.”

Thorpe then wrapped up the press conference with some concluding remarks.

“As we enter these summer months all I can say to our young people, plead with you, not to resort to guns,” he said. “Torres-Walker and I are the only council members with children in our schools. We will be criticized. But I don’t care.”

“Be safe this summer. To cease fire. We want to help. But we can’t do it with violence,” the mayor continued. “We want to meet you 99% of the way there but you need to meet us 1% of the way.”

“They’re not always listening in Washington, even though it’s common sense,” Thorpe then said, directing his comments to the Moms Demand Action members. “But dammit, we’re listening, here.”

“I call on family members…I beg you when you see a family member pick up a weapon, call the police…and keep our people alive,” he concluded.

Questions on School Safety Staff

When asked what does she mean by school campus safety professionals, Torres-Walker responded, “every school district has school safety folks…to decrease violence to counsel young folk. What we need to do is make sure they’re trained and equipped.”

She and Thorpe were asked about their votes to cancel the $750,000 federal grant for placing six police officers known as School Resource Officers or SRO’s, on Antioch middle and high school campuses.

“Yes, absolutely I voted against the federal grant just like when there was an opportunity to vote for Cal VIP funds to reduce gun violence in 2019 and the council and chief passed it up,” Torres-Walker responded.

Asked if the Cal VIP funds are still available, she said, “Cal VIP funds are always available for intervention and prevention of gun violence. Antioch has the opportunity to get this funding.”

“We are petitioning the governor right now to increase it to $114 million,” added Sitton.

 

 

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Antioch Police pursuit suspect caught by Contra Costa Sheriff’s helicopter, Berkeley PD bike officers

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Suspect on foot in Berkeley on Friday, April 30, 2021. Screenshots of CCCSheriff STARR3 Helicopter video.

By Antioch Police Department

Suspect’s gun & bullets. Photo: Berkeley PD

On Friday, April 30, 2021 at around 2:52 pm, APD Dispatch received a 9-1-1 call reporting an aggravated assault with a motor vehicle in the area of Wilbur Avenue and Cavallo Road. A male was reportedly ramming his Honda into another car occupied by a female. While responding, the caller reported the male was chasing the other car in his Honda. Officer Hughes located the involved vehicles on West 10th and G Streets. He attempted a traffic stop on the Honda, but instead, the driver began fleeing and tried to ram another police vehicle in the area. Officers pursued the Honda onto westbound Highway 4 and requested assistance from the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Air Unit STARR3, who immediately launched from Buchanan Field Airport in Concord. APD dispatchers coordinated with STARR3 to take over the pursuit from the air, which allowed our officers to back out. (See pursuit video).

Suspect’s car on Tunnel Road.

STARR3 followed the vehicle into Berkeley and contacted the Berkeley Police Department, who had members of their Bike Force in the area. Once the suspect abandoned his vehicle, deputies radioed his location to BPD Bike Force officers, who swooped in for the arrest. Instead of giving up, he decided to start hopping fences, but was NO match for the much faster BPD officers. Just before being detained, the suspect tossed a loaded firearm, which was found to have a scratched-off serial number. The suspect was arrested by Berkeley PD officers and APD will be working with them on prosecution.

Berkeley PD Officer with suspect on ground.

APD would like to thank the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Air Unit, California Highway Patrol, and Berkeley Police Department for their assistance with this incident. This is a classic example of police agencies working together across city and county borders to keep our communities safe. STARR3 is an invaluable service to the communities of Contra Costa County and we are VERY fortunate to have them.

(Video courtesy of Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office, radio audio courtesy of Berkeley PD)

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Coroner’s jury rules in 2020 deaths of Pittsburg, Antioch men while county jail inmates

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston announces that a coroner’s jury on Friday, April 30, 2021 reached a finding in the September 24, 2020 death of 32-year-old Levele Lee Williams of Pittsburg. The finding of the jury is that the death is at the hands of another person, other than by accident. Williams was injured after being assaulted by inmates at the Martinez Detention Facility. He was taken to a local hospital. Williams apparently suffered from complications during surgery and was later pronounced deceased while at the hospital.

The coroner’s jury, which heard two inquests on Friday, also reached a finding in the October 17, 2020 death of 42-year-old Gregory Lane Lynds of Antioch. The finding of the jury is that the death is a suicide. Lynds had been arrested for elder abuse and other charges. (See related article)

The coroner’s jury reached the verdicts in both inquests after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by the hearing officers, Laura Pagey and Matthew Guichard.

A coroner’s inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston convenes in fatal incidents involving peace officers, is a public hearing during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding: accident, suicide, natural causes and ast the hands of another person, other than by accident.

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Man shot multiple times during drive by at Antioch marijuana business Thursday night

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

By Sergeant Matthew Harger #3305, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau

On Thursday, April 29, 2021 at about 8:00pm, APD units were dispatched to the CoCo Farms cannabis dispensary, located at 3400 Wilbur Avenue in Antioch, regarding a shooting in the parking lot. When Officer’s arrived on scene, they determined that both the victim and responsible(s) had left prior to their arrival.

A short time later a 27-year-old male was dropped off at a local hospital suffering from multiple non-life-threatening gunshot wounds. Evidence at the location determined the victim had been shot by an occupant of a passing vehicle as he walked through the business’s parking lot. There is not any suspect information at this time and the investigation to identify the responsible(s) is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441 or you may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch man fatally shot during landlord tenant dispute Wednesday morning

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Section of Garrow Drive blocked off by police during investigation of fatal shooting Wed., April 28, 2021. Photos courtesy of neighbor.

Detectives interview Brentwood man as person of interest

By Acting Sergeant Loren Bledsoe #4055, Antioch Police Violent Crimes Unit (Investigations Bureau)

Police markers on street indicate locations of bullet casings.

On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, at 10:49 am, Antioch police officers were called to a residence in the 3300 block of Garrow Drive for a male subject who had been shot. Responding officers detained a 50-year-old male at the scene who was armed with a gun. Officers also located a 52-year-old male lying outside the residence, suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The victim was immediately transported to an area hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

Preliminary information revealed the shooting took place during a landlord tenant dispute. Detectives are currently interviewing a 50-year-old male who is considered a person of interest at this time.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Gragg at (925) 779-6889 or the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925)778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) to 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword ANTIOCH.

This preliminary information is made available by the Investigations Bureau.

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Antioch Council adopts three more police reforms, homeless resident services guidelines

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

The Antioch City Council and city clerk included a new timer for public comments during their meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Video screenshot.

With little to no discussion council on final resolutions council approves police lateral hiring disqualifying factors, training matrix additions and notification protocol;  uses new on-screen timer for public comments.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, April 27, 2021, the Antioch City Council voted to approve three additional police reforms and homeless services guidelines all on 5-0 votes. But before dealing with the major issues on the agenda, when addressing the proclamation entitled Honoring Our Elders Month, May 2021, Thorpe was severely criticized during public comments and responded with a dig at those who made them. He said, “OK. While others continue to live in the past, we will move on to the next proclamation.” Following the mayor’s comments, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker smirked.

Although the reforms were discussed during their marathon meeting on February 26, there was little to no discussion by council members on the final resolutions they adopted during the Tuesday meeting. Nor were any findings offered by council members or staff to demonstrate the need for the reforms. (See related article)

As part of the consent calendar, the council also voted 5-0 to approve spending an additional $60,000 on homelessness consultant Focus Strategies. Asked why, when the city has already hired an Unhoused Resident Coordinator, District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock responded, “to get all the programs in place.” Unhoused Resident Consultant Contract Extension

Approve Disqualifying Factors for Lateral Police Hires

With just a few public comments and no discussion by council members, but after staff conferred with the two Antioch Police Department bargaining units, the resolution adopting disqualifying factors for lateral police hires was approved on a 5-0 vote, with a rare time that District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica moved approval and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock seconding the motion of one of Thorpe’s police reforms. APD Disqualifying Factors for Lateral Hires

Approve Training Matrix Additions

Following a few comments by the public, mostly in support but one opposing, the council took up the issue of adding language  to the Antioch Police Department’s training matrix, which will include annual, public review by the city council. APD Officer Training Matrix topics

“Having all the good police officers I’ve ever met, they always want more training, and I support more training,” Barbanica said before making a motion to approve and Ogorchock seconding, again.

“Implicit bias, effectively is racial bias training, isn’t it?” Thorpe asked Police Chief T Brooks before the vote.

“They’re separate. Racial bias could be more of an explicit bias. They’re similar. But they can be separate,” Brooks responded.

One of the other additions that will be required in the training matrix for Antioch police officers is procedural justice. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services, procedural justice is based on four pillars: fairness in the processes, transparency in actions, opportunities for voice and impartiality in decision making.

The motion passed 5-0.

Notification Protocol Approved

Following a few public comments, including members of Angelo Quinto’s family asking for public communication to be included in the protocol, Barbanica made a motion to formally approve disqualifying factors associated with the lateral hiring of officers by the Antioch Police Department. However, no public notification requirements were included in the protocol. Those will be considered later, according to Thorpe. APD Notification Protocol 

The motion was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Approve Unhoused Resident Services Policy Guidelines

After the city council set aside $531,174 for new homelessness response efforts in November 2019 – with $140,000 already allocated for mobile showers and toilets, trash and sharps disposal, laundry services, motel vouchers, and pilots for safe parking programs and warming centers – and accepting five FEMA trailers that remain unused, hiring an Unhoused Resident Coordinator and contracting with a consultant at a cost of $133,000 so far, the council finally adopted policy guidelines for unhoused resident services. Antioch Policy Guidelines for Unhoused Resident Services

“This is essentially a first step,” Barbanica said. “To identify and bring services in and get people into housing. Does this include renting a hotel for housing? It does not.”

“We are trying to put together a pathway,” he continued. “This is how do we help people, right now, today hopefully get into long-term housing.”

“I think that, my belief is we need our own CORE Team and I ask that be added to the budget,” Ogorchock stated.

With no more discussion, Barbanica moved approval of the guidelines, with Ogorchock offering the second. The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.

The council then discussed additional homeless related ideas including a human rights commission, all of which will be considered in committee.

 

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