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Police go on “cold patrol” to get the homeless to warmth and safety

HARTFORD -- On frigid nights, cops in the city turn from crime fighters to cold fighters by looking in all the places homeless folks are known to spend the night and get them to shelter. On Thursday night, one of the coldest nights in years, HPD dedicated a group of officers with that one mission.

Officer Sid Palmieri, a CSO for many years in Hartford, brought us out on “Cold Patrol” to find homeless populations living in the city and bring them to warmth and ultimately, safety. As a CSO for many years in Hartford, Palmieri is familiar with where the homeless stay at night. Some of those hidden places are not safe in this weather, so his job is to offer and sometimes convince the needy to seek a warm bed.

We even found a camp posted along Chestnut Street that turned out to be someone's home. It was 10 degrees out, and while there were lit candles in the thin tarp-built hut, no one was around. Upon returning the next day to check on their well-being after the frigid night, we found "Angel," a man who'd been living there for about 8 months who also shared his story with us.

As a member of the Hartford Police Department, I built a strong relationship with “Journey Home,” a local non-profit group working tirelessly to end homelessness in the Hartford region. If you or a loved one are in need of shelter, food or warm clothing, "Journey Home" is an exceptional option for some much-needed help.

For more information on "Journey Home," visit http://journeyhomect.org/.

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