Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold is having another town hall this morning. I'll report out anything new-ish...
Obviously a lot of the talk is going to be about Boulder's unhoused. Officer Maynard from BPD's Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is on the call. And they're plugging the 1/19 City Council meeting, where encampments and homeless services are on the agenda.
Herold starts off parsing language: Is Boulder doing 'sweeps' or 'clean-ups'? Sweeps are a term from past, aggressive policing, focused on arrests, etc. "That terminology is not correct in my mind."
Maynard continues: 'Clean-ups' is the correct term because enforcement is about health hazards and right-of-way obstructions, not about enforcing the camping ban. Police role is to provide security.
As a words person I am glued to this look inside the narrative.
City has received lots of questions about why it takes so long to remove an encampment. BPD gives 72 hours notification due to legal requirements, case law, some precedents from Denver.
Maynard describing what the public sees as persistent campsites: The city removes an encampment, which is then rapidly occupied by 'new' residents who see an opening.
Maynard (I'm paraphrasing): Everyone knows what services are available, but we still do thorough outreach because we don't want a civil rights lawsuit.
BPD going through a laundry list of available services/providers. I imagine this sounds impressive to people who don't need them. But imagine being someone needing to cobble together support from so many sources.
Audience member question about language access services for unhoused. Maynard: HOT has access to interpretation and will make a warm hand-off to orgs. that can provide interpretation.
Another audience question: How is city following CDC guidelines about not removing encampments? Herold: "I feel that we are in complete compliance because of all of the services and sheltering we are providing."
Maynard: If you look at the whole of CDC guidance (and not just a paragraph), we are in compliance.
Audience question about impacts of jail capacity limitations. Herold: *All* court system services impacted. This will be the case for at least a few months more. It's frustrating for everyone.
Herold: "I'm happy we don't have a violence problem in Boulder, but certainly our property crimes are rising."
Maynard: We have fewer enforcement tools right now. It's not that we've stopped's that one of our major tools [incarceration] is missing. Officers are frustrated.
"We're with you", BPD assures the community. I would love to see who all is on this call.
BPD reminding audience that the 'criminal homelessness or the criminal homeless' are only a small number of who's out there.

Yes, but the framing here...
Maynard: "I think we all know that generally speaking, crime doesn't pay. And that's why so many of these, they're not exactly homeless criminals they're criminals who are homeless."
BPD talking about de-escalation training happening now.
Herold: BPD has a lot of human talent, well-educated officers. She's describing the potential for training, which she has not seen in larger departments.
They're not providing numbers on the costs of removing campsites, but emphasize resources required to get multiple city departments involved on a regular basis. More details promised at City Council on 1/19.
Audience question about policing on the Boulder Creek Path. Herold: We do it. But I'm down 24 officers this year. It impacts the ability to deploy. I want more [officers on] bikes out on the path. Visibility helps. But right now people need to be vigilant too.
Moving away from audience question about rising theft of catalytic converters. It's easy, apparently.
It happens a lot in large parking lots. "You'll see somebody getting under a car, with a tool. And 20 seconds later they have it."
Last question is about political extremism/domestic terrorism, and how Boulder is preparing.
Herold: We don't know of any threats in Boulder. But we have a very well prepared SWAT team, and mutual aid agreements with other local departments.
I would have liked to hear more about local law enforcement approaches to political instability and white terror. But Herold concludes the meeting by going back to encampments and the 1/19 Council meeting. It'll be a big one, y'all.

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