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Police:HEAT Program Reducing Public Intoxication, Jail Costs

(Doug Randall/TSM)

Cheyenne Police say the implementation of the Homeless Empowerment Action Team–or HEAT–program has resulted in fewer arrests for public intoxication and has helped to slow an increase in incarceration costs related to transients.

According to a department press release, figures for the month of October show a 115 percent decrease in public intoxication arrests. The release also credits the program with slowing increased costs of incarceration related to transients, which had increased 105 percent between May and November 0f 2012 compared to the same time in 2011.

The HEAT program is made up of outreach teams which include a police officer and a representative of the COMEA house shelter who approach homeless people and notify them of the services available to them in the Cheyenne area. Among the findings of the outreach teams so far has been that most panhandlers on Cheyenne streets were trying to obtain money for drugs and/or alcohol, rather than food. According to the police report on the program. most transients said food was already available to them in Cheyenne.

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