SPOKANE, WASH. – Spokane Police Officers made their way under Interstate 90 Thursday morning serving eviction notices to homeless individuals in violation of the city camping ordinance. The notice gives the men and women 24 hours to exit, but in making them move they are also providing a number of services to those in need to help get them back on their feet.
"This is important to not only to the city of Spokane but this is also important for the individuals down here," Spokane Police Captain Frank Scalise said. "The intent of the city is to not to just enforce the camping ordinance but also offer services to the individuals down here who may be homeless and may be in need of other services as well."
During the next 24 hours services will be offered to help connect them with whatever help they may need whether that be solely for homelessness, or other issues too, like substance abuse. The officers will ask for voluntary compliance and if people choose not to comply they will come back to enforce the law. A violation of the city's camping ordinance is a misdemeanor, but very infrequently do people get booked for breaking this law.
"The only time we book people when misdemeanors are concerned is when the activity that the person is being cited for is likely to continue and continue and continue," Scalise said. "Then the only option to discontinue what they are doing is to make a custodial arrest."
Spokane Police say they will continue to check on the "tent city" area in the coming weeks to make sure there are no other homeless individuals who choose to make their home under the highway.