One Truckee River has known about the large tent encampments under/around Glendale Bridge in Sparks for a while now. Many OTR stakeholders and members of the public have reached out, expressing fear for their safety.
At the end of June 2016, when the Sparks Police Department announced its outreach plans to those residing in tents along the Truckee River, OTR leaders and stakeholders knew it was an exciting milestone. The officers began reaching out to those along the river, trying to match their needs with available services.
On July 27, key OTR personnel met up with Sparks police officers and Washoe County social workers to visit the Glendale Bridge area to see the encampments along the Truckee River.
We drove along the path in two police vehicles. We stopped at three different groupings of camps. Officer Ken Gallop would approach a tent and call out a greeting. After establishing the person’s/persons’ needs, Officer Gallop would have the social workers come down and talk to the campers.
Sometimes it would take a couple minutes; other times it took 15 minutes. Between the police officers and the social workers, each camper received information about the local shelters and resources.
As mentioned prior, One Truckee River has heard many complaints about encampments under and around the Glendale Bridge, right next to the Truckee River. Since those complaints, however, Sparks police have been performing outreach to those living on the river. The overflow homeless shelter has also opened again, allowing more shelter options for those going without. While there were three to four encampments (consisting of one to five tents each) around the bridge during our tour, everything and everyone under the bridge had been cleared out by the Nevada Department of Transportation. There were also signs posted everywhere:
Sparks police and Washoe County will continue to reach out to those camping on the river for the near future.