NYPD hires nurses to help officers handle homeless

The nurses will work with officers to determine what services, if any, homeless individuals need

Rocco Parascandola and Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The NYPD has hired a group of trained nurses who will help cops with homeless outreach, the city’s top cop said Tuesday.

Speaking at a breakfast at the Hudson Yards sponsored by the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the nurses will give medical evaluations to homeless men and women police interact with and encourage them into shelters.

“Nurses are going out with police officers,” Shea said. “This is a new age.”

Shea said nurses will tag along with cops when they respond to complaints about homeless encampments or focus on areas where the homeless congregate.

While neither homelessness nor sitting on the sidewalk are considered crimes, cops can be called if a homeless person is blocking the sidewalk or preventing people from going about their daily activities, Shea said.

“What we’re running into many times is mental illness," Shea said. "We’re running into people who, for many reasons, don’t want to go to a shelter.”

The nurses, he said, will be instrumental in “making a determination: is this person in need of medical services? Are they a danger to themselves or others? Do they need help?"

Interacting with the homeless will not just be “from a law enforcement perspective but from a medical perspective too,” Shea said.

It was not immediately clear when the NYPD hired the nurses or how many.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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