Illegal camping ‘outreach’ brings arrests, gun seizures

By From page A1 | February 21, 2014

A Placerville Police Department outreach on Feb. 19 to illegal camping sites in the city to provide mental health resources resulted in arrests and firearms seized.

PPD began the Joint Outreach Operation in the morning with a focus on illegal camps in the city, a press release stated. Teams of PPD officers, city crews, Health and Human Service’s Mental Health workers and representatives from the Community Resource Center went to known areas of illegal camping after weeks of extra patrols advising the campers that they needed to comply with laws.

“The purpose of the operation was to remove illegal camps and to connect those individuals in crisis and wanting help with available resources,” the press release stated. To that end, the teams used discretion, as the issue was not “one size fits all.” Evaluations were done to determine the best course of action, including mental health, crisis management resources and enforcement.

“Our aim is to balance outreach and enforcement efforts when dealing with habitual transient offenders often afflicted with mental health and drug and alcohol dependencies,” Police Chief Scott Heller said. “I believe we struck that balance during today’s operation, working with our community partners, and were able to make an overall impact for the better.”

In total, 14 camps along Broadway, Placerville Drive, Ray Lawyer Drive and the El Dorado Trail from Mosquito Road to past Schnell School were encountered and removed. Ten campers were offered outreach services. Several fled the camps, including one camp on a city resident’s private property above Ray Lawyer Drive and Placerville Drive. The subject left behind a loaded shortened shotgun and a scoped rifle. He was later apprehended and identified as Daniel Carpenter, 36, a registered sex offender with a no-bail warrant.

Another subject who fled, Caleb Stroud, 20, was arrested a short time later on the El Dorado Trail, having come from a Broadway camp, on an outstanding arrest warrant. He was allegedly found to be in possession of burglary tools.

The press release noted that substantial amount of trash was left behind due to a temporary overload of available cleanup resources. A follow-up operation with city crews and volunteers is planned with a date forthcoming.

Property collected during the operation was booked for safekeeping with PPD. Property being kept safe can be returned by appointment.

Anyone with questions or information regarding illegal camps is urged to contact Sgt. Brody Jordan at 530-642-5210.

Cole Mayer

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