After Denver city councilors passed a controversial ban on "unauthorized" camping in mid-May, critics argued the city had effectively criminalized homelessness.
Though the ban technically went into effect May 29th, making it illegal for the city's homeless to sleep in sleeping bags, tents, or other constructed outdoor shelters anywhere camping is unauthorized, Denver Police have taken a soft approach to enforcement.
"We just want to make sure folks are aware of [the ban] before we begin enforcing it," said police spokesman Detective John White to the Denver Post.
CBS4 speculates there may be a grace period on enforcement until June 1, but cites no verifiable source for that information.
Prior to the ban's passing, Denver Police Chief Robert White indicated officers would be as relaxed possible. "From a law enforcement perspective, the absolute, unequivocally last thing we want to do as a police department is arrest someone for a camping violation," said White to Westword.
And according to a copy of the Denver Police Department's Training Bulletin, Chief White was telling the truth.
The document emphasizes directing unauthorized campers "toward services," and states that in all circumstances (excluding life threatening ones):
a citation should not occur if an individual is in need of a homeless shelter or bed, expresses a willingness to accept homeless shelter assistance, and the officer is notified that shelter space is not available.
READ the full DPD training manual below:
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