In light of ongoing concerns in the downtown business area, Oakdale Police have announced a program to increase responsiveness to those challenges.
Officer Mike Freudenthal, a reserve police officer with the Oakdale Police Department, has been assigned as the new Downtown Community Resource Officer, taking on the role as of Monday, July 31.
Officer Freudenthal will patrol the area during periodic blocks of time each week and will also respond directly to businesses via his department issued smartphone, said Oakdale Police Chief Scott Heller.
Officer Freudenthal will also report to Sergeant Mike Nixon, the department’s Homeless Community Liaison. Sgt. Nixon supervises both the Reserve Officer Program and the department’s response to homeless related challenges. Concerns voiced at the recent weekly Merchants Meeting regarding issues with some transients accosting businesspeople in their offices prompted the discussion about providing an added level of police presence downtown.
Sgt. Nixon has also been instrumental with the police department’s partnership with Stanislaus River Watch, whereby volunteers clean up litter and address public safety concerns monthly.
Sergeant Nixon’s responsibilities are defined by department policy to include: Maintain and make available to all department employees a list of assistance programs and other resources that are available to the homeless; meet with social services and representatives of other organizations that render assistance to the homeless; maintain a list of the areas within and near this jurisdiction that are used as frequent homeless encampments; and, remain abreast of laws dealing with the removal and/or destruction of the personal property of the homeless.
This will include:
Proper posting of notices of trespass and clean-up operations.
Proper retention of property after clean-up, to include procedures for owners to reclaim their property in accordance with the Property and Evidence Policy and other established procedures.
Be present during any clean-up operation conducted by the department involving the removal of personal property of the homeless to ensure that the rights of the homeless are not violated.
Develop training to assist officers in understanding current legal and social issues relating to the homeless.
“While patrol officers will continue to cover issues throughout the city including the downtown business area, our Downtown Resource Officer aims to become a resource to move past the Band-Aid and seek some longer term problem solving,” said Chief Heller. “By focusing Officer Freudenthal downtown and expanding Sgt. Nixon’s role as Homeless Community Liaison, we hope to see some real results that we could look at expanding to other areas of the city in the near future.”
Police encourage anyone with any questions regarding the Downtown Community Resource Officer program and/or long-term homeless related challenges involving the police department to contact Sergeant Mike Nixon at (209) 847-2231. For needs requiring immediate assistance call 911.