On Friday March 24, 2023 the Rialto Police Department partnered with the San Bernardino County Probation Department and the non-profit organization, “Social Work Action Group,” (S.W.A.G.) to provide outreach and assistance to a large number of unsheltered individuals in the City of Rialto. Many of the subjects commonly contacted by S.W.A.G. are in need of mental health resources and/or substance abuse programs long before permanent or even short-term housing can be made available to them. Seven teams of officers set out to locate and contact individuals who may be in need of aid, and connect them with the proper resources depending on their circumstances and situation.
In total, 16 encampments and 50 individuals were contacted, including six of whom were on active county probation. A total of nine individuals were receptive to the efforts and were referred to local treatment centers by S.W.A.G. team members. One of the individuals was successfully enrolled in a faith-based, three-month long substance abuse program which is the first step to his exit from his life on the street. The operation also resulted in the distribution of 26 hygiene kits to those in need of such items. This operation was a result of multi-agency collaboration and private-public partnerships which are proving to be an effective method to address the growing number of unsheltered individuals. The Rialto Police Department hopes this is the first of many similar type operations to follow.
Cpl. Nic Parcher
Rialto Police Department