OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Ogden Police Department is welcoming a new position with a Homeless Services Advocate to help the homeless crisis going on in the city.
Wednesday, an officer-involved shooting took place, the suspect, a homeless individual. The Deputy Chief of Police addressed his concerns about homelessness and mental health.
ABC4’s Northern Utah correspondent, Jordan Verdadeiro, took a deeper dive into the department’s solutions.
Officers responded to a homeless man in a repair shop Wednesday morning. It led to an officer-involved shooting and the Chief of Police addressing his concerns.
“Individuals who are unstable due to addiction and mental health illness are dangerous to you and those who protect you, there must be a greater part on society as a whole to mitigate this growing illness in our population,” said the Deputy Chief of Police for the Ogden Police Department, Eric Young.
Every day in Ogden, lines of people with nowhere to go, wait outside of the Lantern House for shelter. “Lantern house is our largest shelter in the state of Utah and their bed count is 333,” said Anna Davidson.
Ogden Police Department hired Anna Davidson full-time in September, to be a Homeless Services Advocate.
“As a business owner in Ogden, I started seeing deficits, gaps,” said Davidson.
In Utah, nearly 3,000 people are homeless each night, over 83% of them are along the Wasatch front, according to the Ogden Rescue Mission.
“We have a lot of mentally ill folks who don’t know how to navigate on their own, that they don’t have the cognitive ability to do that on their own and see who we can get to help them,” said Davidson.
Using her personal tie with her husband, as her driving force.
“He had terrible trauma in his childhood, he’s done the addiction, he’s been homeless, he’s a business owner, he fought through,” said Davidson.
The Ogden Police Department is taking on Davidson in hopes to lessen the number of arrests and incidents like yesterday’s and battle the homeless epidemic in the community.