Police say a six-month initiative to address transient issues in downtown Cheyenne has been successful and they hope to continue the program in the future.

Officer Kevin Malatesta says Operation Change, which began in April and concluded in October, has been "highly effective" in changing how the public perceives transient crimes.

"We've definitely connected with the community and made them more aware of these issues," said Malatesta. "I think that people have also seen some of the reality of what is actually going on."

"The perception is that there's all these violent crimes taking place that the transients downtown are responsible for -- vandalism, robberies, things of that nature -- and that's simply not true," Malatesta added. "The majority of the crimes that we see perpetuated by the homeless community downtown are alcohol offenses."

Malatesta says by partnering with local agencies such as Peak Wellness, they've been able to get folks the help they need to get through those addictions and stay out of jail.

"We have one individual who I believe has been four months sober now as a result of this," said Malatesta. "He's gotten counseling and was able to basically turn his life around."

For those interested in learning more about the impacts of the program, Chief Brian Kozak will be giving a presentation in the Edwards Community Room at the Cheyenne Public Safety Center tomorrow (Tuesday) at 5:30 p.m.

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