One of the interesting things about having been your Constable for 20 years is that a large part of the contact I have in our community is with the poor and homeless. There are times I am making the poor homeless by virtue of the eviction orders that I have been tasked with executing.

One eviction I did a few years ago involved a woman who had been panhandling with signs (I saw in her apartment) which said she was homeless and needed help. The irony was that she was not homeless, she was in fact living in an apartment, but I was making her homeless.

Many of the people I deal with are poor and/or homeless because of the bad lifestyle choices they’re making. Quite often the people I’m dealing with have chosen to spend their money unwisely. This could include drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, tattoos, expensive cars, expensive electronics, and gambling. The list could go on and on.

But, to be clear, there are a number of people living on the streets due to calamities that have befallen them as well. I remember one eviction where a woman who was living paycheck-to-paycheck had gotten a bad infection after a visit to an emergency room. She was actually on an antibiotic pump! I remember contacting the local Mormon church and getting them involved. I was immensely grateful for the help of the local church members! In the end, I was able to extend the time of the eviction to about a week, which is very unusual. I honestly don’t remember the disposition of that eviction, but I do believe she ended up going somewhere safe, and not on the streets. That I’m certain of.

A number of people who are homeless and living on the streets suffer mental illness. I’m sure that’s no surprise to many of you.

Over the years I’ve become comfortable dealing with the poor and homeless in our community. This may partly be due to the fact that I grew up in Chicago through the 6th grade.

I really became acquainted with the homeless population years ago when I was tasked by the Mesa Police Department with serving a subpoena on a gentleman who had witnessed a traffic accident but was homeless himself.

This was a high-profile case because a Mesa city prosecutor had collided with a Mesa police detective while both were on their lunch breaks. That may be why I was asked to serve the subpoena.

I didn’t have a phone number for this gentleman, just his name. The only thing that I could think of doing was to go to St. Vincent de Paul in the morning where the homeless were served breakfast and Paz de Cristo where they were served dinner in the evening.

All in all, it took me 3 days of visiting both facilities before I ran into the mother of this gentleman’s girlfriend. That’s how I finally made contact with him. I remember the patrons of both facilities being very cautious around me at first, but I just kept telling the story of why I was there. Eventually, they grew more comfortable and helpful!

He was extraordinarily cooperative, and in the end, I picked him up on the day of the court hearing as he had no transportation.

The Mesa City police detective was so grateful that I had found this gentleman that she wrote a letter on my behalf when I was trying to get appointed Justice of the Peace in 2019 following Judge Ash’s early retirement.