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Asset seizure funds to be used to help homeless population in Fullerton

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The Fullerton City Council approved $50,000 of asset seizure funds Aug. 5 to be used to help the Homeless Liaison Officer Program.

The money will not be taken from the general fund and will be used to help the homeless with needs such as hygiene supplies, clothing, motel vouchers and bus passes for those traveling to family for reunification, according to Dan Hughes, police chief.

“We’ve created a great program but we haven’t given officers the tools to help it succeed,” Hughes added.

Hughes said there are currently four homeless liaison police officers in Fullerton who work with an “ever growing homeless population” in Fullerton.

“Right now, there’s no better use of this fund right now in this city,” he added.

Council member Bruce Whitaker asked for the item to be pulled because he wanted to know what accounting procedures would be in place to document the use of the funds.

Hughes said that up until this point that non-profits in Fullerton had been supporting the police in their efforts to help the homeless. They believe that $50,000 will be an appropriate amount for the program for a year. Hughes did not specify how that amount was figured out.

“Please don’t get me wrong,” Whitaker said, “I believe based on what you described that I could be very supportive of this,” but would vote no until he could see an accounting in place detailing what the money was spent on.

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Sebourn amended the item by asking that a detailed reporting be given every quarter showing what the department spent the funds on. Hughes agreed to that, as did the council.

The council voted 4-1 for the item, with Whitaker casting the lone no vote.

The Police Officer Liaison Project was created in 2012 after the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless, schizophrenic man who died after an altercation with Fullerton police officers. Two police officers were found not guilty in January of his death.

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