LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said he is working to eliminate thousands of homeless people's old warrants for minor offenses in the coming weeks as part of a solution to help get people off the streets.
Moore said he doesn't view homelessness as a law enforcement issue, but rather a public health and safety concern that needs more investment in mental health, sanitation and housing.
In an effort to reduce homelessness in L.A., Moore has a somewhat unconventional idea that he believes will free up officers.
"We have hundreds of thousands of bench warrants that haven't been served for years and in my view, we need to clear the docket and focus on what's important and identify those that if they were previously named, provide amnesty," Moore said.
Homelessness rose 16% in the city over the past year with 36,000 people now living on the streets of L.A. Moore's plan would eliminate warrants that are more than five years old for minor offenses such as drinking in public, blocking a sidewalk or failure to appear in court.
Fees build up on old warrants, and the homeless can't pay them off.
"This is a humanitarian crisis of our generation. This matches any other calamity that this city and this region in this country has seen. I believe that it is a social emergency. It cannot be, in my view, overstated," Moore said.
The LAPD chief, who has been in command for just over a year, said eliminating low-level offenses will allow officers to further focus on eliminating more serious crimes.
Moore said he hopes to have the bench warrants eliminated in the coming weeks.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore vows to erase homeless people's old warrants for minor offenses
HOMELESS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
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