Garden Grove police officer helps out homeless community

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) -- When it rains, flood control channels turn into raging rivers and become dangerous for people who take shelter inside them.

A homeless man in Garden Grove, who goes by the name "Fou," has lived on the streets for the last year. He is just one of many people that Garden Grove Police Officer Brian Hatfield checks up on every week, especially when it rains.

"The challenge is that there's no rapport built when you go to arrest someone or to do the enforcement action that is being taken on a daily basis," Hatfield said.

Unlike many police departments, Garden Grove does not have a homeless liaison program. Hatfield took it upon himself to build relationships with the homeless community and focus on outreach instead of enforcement whenever possible.

"I really give credit to the police officer trying to help us. I respect him," Fou said.

Just three weeks ago, with the help of Orange County resources, Hatfield set up the department's first official outreach program. So far, 16 people received physical and mental health screenings and a handful were connected to a shelter.

Recently, he stopped by a homeless veteran who he helped get into rehab. The man thanked Hatfield because he is sober and back on his feet.

That story is enough to keep pushing Hatfield to help the community stay dry and off the streets.
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