Compassion Patrol

 

Written by Mustafa Kujo in the August 2018 Issue

Compassion Patrol

Compassion Patrol

Sergeant Chad Brown isn’t exactly sure when he became designated as Edmond Police Department’s homeless liaison officer, but sometime after attending the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Course, he was asked to attend a quarterly Edmond Homeless and Underserved Population meeting. “My supervisor told me I would be a good fit. It’s a big brainstorm deal with the City Manager, Police Chief, Project 66 Food & Resource Center, UCO, and lots of the churches that provide needed services.”

Over his 22 years with the Edmond PD, Sgt Brown has learned the enormous value of communication to help him on his daily patrols. “It’s the most important skill I have, whether dealing with a domestic incident or someone with mental health issues, I need to quickly ascertain if someone is a danger to themselves or others, if they are on or off their medications, or using drugs.” A few years back, he received a phone call from a man who remembered that Sgt Brown had treated him fairly. “He called wanting to report a suicide—his own! As I drove through downtown to his house, I had my cell phone on, trying to keep him talking and to build that connection. By the time I got there, he was ready to come out and we got him the help he needed.”

“Patrolmen will often buy a meal for some of the homeless, or a tank of gas for a family with a sudden domestic issue.”

Edmond has a relatively small and fairly stable homeless population. Sgt Brown makes it a point to check on the ones he knows about weekly. “I coordinate with the other patrolmen and get their information, then go see them and make sure they know about services that are available to them.” He carries a batch of Homeless Resource Cards with telephone numbers and addresses for services, including First Christian Church’s “Breakfast on Boulevard” which serves free hot breakfasts and sack lunches on weekdays from 6:30am to 7:15am, and The Hope Center which can provide food, clothing, and even rent or utility assistance. “It’s important to remember that there are families in Edmond that are one paycheck away from being homeless. We make it a point to know their names and their family situations, so we can steer them to the agencies or charities that can help them stay in their home or apartment.”

While he has become known as the face of homeless assistance, Sgt Brown is quick to note that patrolmen across the department routinely go above and beyond in their duties to the community. “Many patrolmen, who are barely getting by themselves, will often buy a meal for some of the homeless, or a group will pitch in to get some of them a hotel room when the weather gets bad, or buy diapers and a tank of gas for a family with a sudden domestic issue.”

Some of Edmond’s homeless are ordinary people with extraordinarily bad luck. “This one guy got stranded here when he was passing through town, car broke down, and he ran out of money. He had been sleeping out in the rain for two days when I saw him. He had a job interview in Stillwater, but no way to get there. I took him to The Hope Center and they gave him a few pairs of socks, shoes, and a suit, then I got him transportation to Stillwater. He called me three weeks later and told me he had gotten the job!”

When bad weather is forecast, Sgt Brown can be seen walking the streets checking on people he knows will need help. “I’ll coordinate volunteers and many of the small businesses in town will donate gift cards for meals which we’ll hand out. We have a great community here in Edmond, and if anybody ever wants to help, they can volunteer at the 66 Food Pantry, Hope Center, or their own church, where they can meet the homeless and underserved people who need their help.”

Visit www.edmondok.com/549/Police-Department

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