Homelessness is not a problem a city can arrest our way out of. Recognizing there are a constellation of factors in addressing the real challenges of homelessness, and the impacts to the community, the Dixon Police Department partnered with the Vacaville Police Department in developing a homeless outreach and advocacy program. This innovate program, which went live in 2017, took a non-traditional approach to the problem .
Dixon police officers receive program and outreach support from a licensed clinical social worker shared between Dixon and Vacaville. This position, funded through a cost sharing agreement through grants, enables Dixon police who encounter residents with challenging circumstances to offer programs and services as a way to address those challenges.
Through the Community Action & Awareness Unit, officers and staff can assess, in the field, needs from housing to job training to mental health and align those needs with resources available to combat them. This approach treats those in need with dignity and respect, provides services when available to help them, and potentially ends a cycle of homelessness or chronic and consistent barriers to assistance.