I rant, whine and complain on here how we help keep your streets safe, where ever we operate. Be it Knoxville, TN, or the Tampa Bay Florida area of St. Petersburg/Clearwater FL areas.
Do you understand what that means? Do you care? Well let me share, so you do care.
Today, 8/11/11 at 2:13am – I received a call from one of our Friends In Need who was released from the Hillsborough Florida County Jail at about 1:00am. It is across the Bay from us. In this case, the person was arrested in one county and brought across the bay over 25 miles one way to another county.
Everywhere we have done our work, we will get calls from our Friends In Need after they have been released from jail in the middle of the night. Usually around 1:00am – 3:00am. Do i agree with this practice? Absolutely not. Can you figure out why? Do you know why they call us?
First, is this the Police’s fault? No. Is it the Courts fault? No. Is it the jails fault? No. Of course it is the Friend In Needs fault as they should not have placed themselves in the position to get arrested in the first place and that is what we teach and coach them on. It takes time. But we are here to do it.
However, i do not support the practice of letting out arrested individuals to the streets in the middle of the night.
1) The individual is scared. Most of them are a target for “trouble”. They do not want to get picked up again for making another poor decision without anyone to coach them through to prevent that poor decision. Even if they try to stay away from trouble at that time in the night, no matter what happens they are going to look like the bad guy.
2) They dont want to be wandering as that is when the trouble finds them and if they do not participate, then a fight can ensue.
3) They simply want to get home and off the street. In this case the person was released into Tampa FL, over 25 miles from his home in St. Petersburg FL. Why make it all that more complicated and difficult? We are just asking for trouble. We are brewing it in fact. Period. We are more than Happy to pick them up and get them home safely if our equipment is in proper running order. This is our attempt and participation in Fighting, Preventing, Stopping Social Decay.
4) Normally, we would go pick up the Friend In Need. However, in this case we would have to go on the highway which involves 70 mph speeds here due to the traffic flow. Our Mobile Crisis van right now cannot get out of 3rd gear so we are unable to safely reach proper highway speeds. So, we were not able to go pick up this particular Friend In Need. He ended up spending his last monies taking buses. He was on the streets from 1:00am – 8:00am when he finally got home. Seven…… 7 hours.
5) This individual who does have a past record, but is “trying” key word, “trying” to the best of his capacity to change his life. Many do NOT try. He has done pretty well, going to school for Construction, getting his own apartment, getting his own part-time job and more. We have known him for approx 8 months. He has a good heart. But he simply needs to learn more.
6) We view this as our job. Not the Police’s job to escort them home and coach them, spend time with them. They have many other Civil needs to tend to. Our Responsibility to our 501c3 Certification was to help relieve the Municipal Police, Ambulance and Medical Facilities of “nuisance” type issues. These types of issues being released to the streets in the middle of the night can become very quickly a “nuisance issue”. Yours/Our local Police Departments have more than enough to deal with. We need your help to continue this work. This work is extremely valuable to everyone. Including you.
So, Did You Know, that in your area too most likely there are individuals being released to the street at all hours of the night? Did you know? They have Court 24 hours, right there in jail. Did You Know?
They are mostly scared and hyper at that time. They just want to get out of sight. Typically they are not out to do any harm to anyone. BUT, why should we take that risk. Why should we set them up to fail? Why? I personally really am not looking for an answer from you. I am simply wanting YOU to think.
We have a client who has been arrested 63 times for this kind of thing. 63 times! Trust me. This is a lot of work. Work which you as the General Public simply do not make yourself aware of or simply do not understand. Orgs like us do some intense work. Work no one ever sees or hears about. Sad. We keep YOUR streets safe.
Go ahead, do a Google search of Mobile Crisis units in the USA. You will not find one like us for the most part. We are one of the only ones of our type that provides the services such as described here for example. Most Mobile crisis Units are mainly for the most part for someone suicidal. They will not go out to just pick someone up because they are in a panic after being released from jail. We, STA does and will, as long as we have a working vehicle, 24/7, 365 days per year. Any time of day or night in other words.
Straight Ahead Outreach Inc. Needs YOUR support to help us replace our Mobile Crisis van. Please help today! We help keep YOUR Streets Safe!
We are needing to raise a minimum of $11,000.00 to replace our 1995 Chevrolet Van which has almost 240,000 miles on it and the transmission is not shifting out of 3rd gear along with other issues.
If Not You, Then Who?