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Officers: Police Stations Shouldn’t Be Homeless Shelters

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Ogden District Police Station

Shots were fired just a couple of blocks from the Ogden District police station on the city’s West Side overnight. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police is concerned about police station lobbies becoming homeless shelters in bad weather.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, a Police Department directive read at roll calls reminded officers that the homeless can use police station lobbies for shelter.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Officers are not too pleased about the arrangement.

They have complained they are first responders, and with the homeless camping out in their places of work, they and others who come to the police stations could be exposed to disease and what one calls “ride-along critters” such as lice and bedbugs.

Also, says Chicago FOP spokesman Pat Camden, the homeless people who come to the police stations could be violent.

“We’re also concerned about the safety of the citizens coming in,” he said. “What if a homeless individual asks somebody for money, and they refuse, and there’s a battery that takes place from the homeless person on the citizen? These are supposed to be places of business.”

Camden says the union is sympathetic to the plight of the homeless. But he says police stations are not appropriate places for the homeless to hang around.

“The city has a number of resources for the homeless in severe conditions, besides police stations,” Camden said. “Police stations are a place for police business. You’ve got citizens coming to report accidents, to report different things. They use them for community meetings. It shouldn’t be a shelter. It is a police facility.”

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