Boulder’s homeless camping ban is back. Now what?

Police chief, sheriff warn broader solutions needed for Boulder's homeless problem

By Alex Burness
Staff Writer

On Wednesday, the day after the Boulder City Council told police to start enforcing the city's urban camping ban again after a five-month pause, Chief Greg Testa emailed his officers to relay the directive.

Be professional and enforce the law with "temperance and respect," and continue to point homeless people toward appropriate services when possible, he wrote.

But, Testa ordered, if an officer encounters an urban camper previously contacted by police, or who should otherwise know better, that officer is to issue a summons.

The city's elected leaders have been under pressure to clean up swaths of downtown overrun this summer with homeless activity that many find offensive, and they could not have been clearer in their collective direction on Tuesday.

Police eased up on enforcement of the camping ban in April at the urging of elected leaders, and following community concerns regarding the perceived criminalization of homelessness.

That was a mistake, the council agreed this week, lamenting that the Boulder Creek Path and the Civic Area have become de facto campgrounds, outdoor bathrooms and 24/7 hangouts that no longer feel safe to many

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