Sheriff’s plan to solve homeless issue has some concerned about invasions of privacy

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah - Before Salt Lake County makes a decision on where a new homeless resource center will be built, Sheriff Jim Winder wanted to throw in his plan on how to solve the homeless epidemic.

During a press conference Thursday, he said there needs to be a separation between homeless people who want help and those who don’t.

He said only those who want to get back on their feet should be allowed in the shelter.

"Individuals that present themselves for services have to demonstrate at least some reasonable efforts at attempting to resolve their underlying issues," Winder said.

Winder also wants a police officer staffed at all shelters 24/7.

He said he would like to deny entrance to people with outstanding warrants and said everyone who enters should be searched.

"Ladies and gentleman, we search people going in and out of airports, we search people with a variety of issues, and we say we can't search people going into a homeless shelter," Winder asked in response to those who say it would be an invasion of privacy.

As for those who choose to be homeless and sleep on the streets in what have become tent cities, Winder said they should be kicked out of the downtown area and given an alternate camping site, where they can camp as long they follow the law.

"Why have that urban camping site? Because if you are going to tell people they can't lay on our streets and parks and everywhere else, you got to tell them where to lay," Winder said.

Winder even suggested a possible location for an alternate tent city; the vacant lot on 100 S. and 600 W.

Winder said the biggest key to solving the homeless issue is getting rid of the drugs that bring so many of them to the downtown.

He suggests keeping a close eye on criminals who have a history in the area.

"If you are down there soliciting sex, if you are buying narcotics down there, involved in an assault, place that person’s license plate in a database and if that vehicle is seen going back into the area, officers can pull it over,” he said.