MODESTO — Stanislaus County officials are accusing Escalon of dumping homeless people outside of their city.
Escalon police officers were seen dropping off a couple on Modesto’s McHenry Avenue last week.
“We are here to solve our community’s problems and not other community’s problems at this time,” Modesto Police Sergeant Kalani Souza said.
Escalon Police Chief Michael Borges claims his officers were just helping a stranded couple.
“Unfortunately, they could not rent a room at our only motel since they had rented there in the past and were now no longer welcome,” Borges said.
Just days after the Modesto Police Department boldly called out the San Joaquin County city, a letter from Stanislaus County leaders was sent to Escalon’s city manager.
“What our hope is is that people will be more collaborative in communicating with us what they intend to do and let us take care of our issues while they take care of theirs,” Stanislaus County spokeswoman Amy Vickery said.
Steve Camillo, who has been homeless for five years, agrees.
“Should have taken them to San Joaquin County, why bring them Modesto?” Camillo said. “We already have enough homeless people here.”
Chief Borges says it is not his department’s policy to push the homeless out of Escalon. Rather, it’s their duty to help.
“If we didn’t have the staffing to have done it, we would not have done it. We happened to be fairly well staffed and it’s a supervisor’s call,” Borges said.
The chief says the couple asked to go to a motel in Modesto and proved they could pay for the room.
On the way there, Borges said they changed their minds.
“I certainly wouldn’t dump people in the busiest intersection of Modesto at 1 o’clock in the afternoon in a black and white if I was dumping homeless,” Borges told FOX40.
Sergeant Souza says the couple has since been cited for loitering.
“And the female had actually told us that the Escalon police department and their police officers were so nice that they would give them a ride anywhere they wanted out of the City of Escalon,” Souza said.
He adds after a further look into their background showed zero ties to Modesto or Stanislaus County.
The couple is from Escalon, Souza said, and have asked Modesto officers for a ride back to their hometown.
“They are gonna have to find their own ride back as that is not a service that the City of Modesto Police Department will provide to them,” Souza said.
Souza added they sometimes get homeless people from other counties, but neighboring agencies often alert county officials before sending them there.
Stanislaus County has been working toward solutions for homelessness, including the recent introduction of the CARE program.