Posted on Aug 08, 2018

Sergeant Kevin Martin and Officer Mauricio Calderon (left to right) with the Lompoc Police Department were the guest speakers at Friday mornings club meeting. They talked about the homeless problems in Lompoc.

 

According to Martin, homeless people fall into two categories, either criminal or financial. Most of the homeless people are in the Riverbed with approximately 120, and some are at the Mervyn’s shopping center. There have been as many as 200 in the city of Lompoc. Martin said this is a social problem which requires oversight.
 
Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh created a new position called the Homeless Liaison Officer who can work directly with the homeless. This type of effort requires four or five officers with the number in the city.  Martin said Officer Calderon was assigned to this new position and spends a lot of time working on this.
 
Officer Calderon said he wears a vest which is a choice of the officer. He said the Riverbed is dirty and many of the criminals will try to keep the officers out. They have a responsibility to work towards fixing this problem.
 
Sergeant Martin said they are doing everything they can, partnering with the County to clean up this problem. They have a station for the homeless who provides services and opportunities such as housing, medical, mental health, drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
 
There is a plan soon the clean up the Riverbed within the next 60 to 90 days, said Martin. After the cleanup, the department will continue to patrol the area. The long term solution is to help them out of their situation. Martin said they cannot just remove them or the city could be sued. He mentioned Orange County was fined for this and they learn that having a process in place prevents the city from being sued. 
 
The Lompoc Police Department and County with continue to provide services working toward resolving this homeless issue.
 
The Rotary Club of Vandenberg Village thanked Sergeant Martin and Officer Calderon for a very informative talk.