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Chico Police Chief addresses homeless policing problems

At the April 21 council meeting, Chief O'Brien let the council know he was not happy with its decision.

Posted: Apr 22, 2020 8:32 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Chico Police Chief Michael O'Brien said the council's newly passed ordinance is making it difficult for his officers to do their job.

Those around Chico are upset about the council's decision to ban breaking-up homeless camps of fewer than 10 people.

"There's a number of other places they can go to camp if they need to, but this park was designed for people to enjoy and not to live in," said Martin Kamps.

Sandy Remault lives in Chico and said she understands the need to place homeless somewhere safe.

"I think what they need is one place in the park where it's legal to be and have services provided," said Remault.

"They did it because of the coronavirus, saying 'We gotta keep these people safe, if we break up these encampments, they'll disperse and take the virus to other places," said Councilman Sean Morgan.

"There was a direction given and I respect council for it," said Chief O'Brien. "The problem is it lacked clarity and understanding, as far as how it's going to integrate with existing law."

"It made it very difficult for myself and my police officers. It took away the well-earned discretion our police officers have to make decisions based on individual circumstances," O'Brien continued.

At the April 21 council meeting, Chief O'Brien let the council know he was not happy with its decision.

"I was disappointed that the council majority took a position that did not recognize the hard level of work that we have earned and took away the discretion of my police officers and myself," said O'Brien.

The Chief said the department will respect the council's decision and follow the law as best it can.

"I'm still not entirely sure what I can enforce and what I cannot," O'Brien explained.

"My duty is to protect this community and I will continue to do that to the best of my ability," said O'Brien.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3168528

Reported Deaths: 37121
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles107315615262
San Bernardino2644571667
Riverside2585322777
San Diego2271952375
Orange2232882638
Santa Clara980571234
Kern90213590
Fresno852741043
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Alameda70334894
Ventura65581507
San Joaquin59395808
Contra Costa54951489
Stanislaus44184788
Tulare42759531
Monterey37285259
San Mateo33731340
San Francisco30308293
Santa Barbara26820265
Solano26494111
Imperial25581493
Merced25048324
Sonoma24935247
Kings19904160
Placer17675188
San Luis Obispo16652151
Madera13858151
Santa Cruz12771130
Marin11954163
Yolo11087138
Shasta9951129
Butte9757134
El Dorado800259
Sutter794383
Napa789347
Lassen526916
San Benito516648
Yuba504929
Tehama446846
Tuolumne344340
Nevada333274
Mendocino327736
Amador304932
Lake267332
Humboldt249425
Glenn201522
Colusa18549
Calaveras169523
Siskiyou148413
Mono11354
Inyo100729
Del Norte8732
Plumas6055
Modoc3903
Mariposa3514
Trinity3054
Sierra880
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
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Oroville
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Chico
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Red Bluff
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Chico
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Hi: 57° Lo: 37°
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Although our weather is fairly quiet this evening, a major and long-lasting winter storm is bearing down on northern California with much colder air, stronger wind, heavy rain and very heavy snow beginning Tuesday and lasting through the weekend.
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