South Tahoe area collaborative services program in full swing |

South Tahoe area collaborative services program in full swing

On Aug. 4, Officer Mike Gamberg met with the Homeless Coalition and El Dorado County Behavioral Health in the Trout Creek Meadow, in the first of many walk throughs of area homeless camps. (Provided)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — One year ago, South Lake Tahoe Police Chief David Stevenson proposed a plan to improve our response to persons experiencing mental health crises, substance use issues and homelessness.

In the months following, SLTPD developed a cooperative group of area stakeholders, who were willing to participate in this collaborative program. SLTPD, South Tahoe Fire Rescue, Barton Health, Cal-Tahoe JPA Ambulance, Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless, El Dorado County Behavioral Health Services, Clean Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Tahoe Youth and Family Services, and Tahoe Transportation District are all participating members in the program dubbed, South Tahoe Area Collaborative Services. SLTPD assigned Officer Mike Gamberg as the full-time STACS liaison, who is the police department coordinator for the program.

Since the inception of the STACS program, Officer Gamberg has been reviewing calls for service regarding mental health, substance use and homelessness and providing monthly statistics to command staff and partners.

Over the course of several weeks, SLTPD has received numerous reports of illegal camps, fires, excessive noise, and trash in area meadows and on private property. In the past, the only resource available was the use of citations and trespass warnings to solve immediate issues when they arose. This, being a temporary solution, did not provide the necessary response to solve the problem or help people in need.

With the development of the STACS program, we can now collaborate with area resources and provide these community members with access to more services and support.

On Aug. 4, Officer Gamberg met with the Homeless Coalition and El Dorado County Behavioral Health in the Trout Creek Meadow, in the first of many walkthroughs of area camps. The purpose of this walkthrough was to help our STACS partners identify areas where they can assist and provide services to those in need.

SLTPD will continue to respond to issues and reports from the public and issue trespass warnings and citations when necessary. In addition, the STACS program is designed to provide an alternative to police services, beyond enforcement, to help break the cycle of homelessness, improve our response to those in a mental health crisis and reduce calls for service. We look forward to our continued partnership in the STACS program and improving on our response to those in need.

Source: South Lake Tahoe Police

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