Downtown Association of Fairbanks – Fairbanks Alaska
Community Service Patrol

CSP EXPANDS THANKS TO CITY PARTNERSHIP

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In 2013, the Community Service Patrol took 1,695 publicly inebriated or incapacitated people into protective custody and transported them from downtown to an appropriate point of medical or clinical care, at a cost of $175,000.  Meanwhile, outside of the CSP’s downtown patrol area, the city’s police and fire departments took another 1,200 publicly inebriated or incapacitated people into protective custody for transport, at a cost of approximately $375,000.

Alaska Statute Title 47 grants authority to and requires Alaska’s cities to protect publicly inebriated or incapacitated people.  Faced with a half-million dollar community cost to merely furnish protective custody and transportation to this vulnerable population, Mayor Eberhart decided that additional funding for the CSP was a rational exercise of its authority under Title 47.  So, on April 1, with an additional $75,000 from the city and $25,000 from the Borough, the CSP went city-wide. The newly expanded service adds 1.5 more Ambassadors, for a total of 4.5 Ambassadors, and a second van was brought back into service.  The hours of operation were also expanded to 18 hours/day, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., seven days/week. The expanded area of service now includes the entire City, whereas previously the core downtown area was the only area of coverage.  Additionally, the CSP Ambassadors now have access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to expand medical assistance abilities and life-saving techniques.

A city-wide CSP can respond to the majority of calls for assistance for publicly inebriated or incapacitated people, wisely using the community’s medical and emergency resources by matching the needs of the client to the appropriate level of medical or clinical care, and significantly reducing the amount of time police and fire personnel spend responding to non-criminal and non-emergent calls.

The Downtown Association of Fairbanks agreed to run a city-wide CSP program for three reasons.  First, the long-running program has been successful at cost-effectively managing a persistent community problem.  Second, city-wide expansion will not erode the CSP’s popular and useful foot patrol presence downtown.  Third, expansion was the best way to extend the CSP to part of downtown outside its core.

Even with the city and borough’s increased participation, the CSP continues to be a community-funded program.  There were 47 donors in 2013 and an expanded program will continue to rely on pooling public, corporate, business and individuals’ financial resources.

An accounting of the first months’ city-wide operations will be made to the Fairbanks City Council on May 7 and posted to dowtownfairbanks.com.

Community Service Patrol

COMMUNITY SERVICE PATROL: IN THEIR OWN WORDS


The Community Service Patrol transported 1,255 incapacitated or intoxicated people from downtown to home or an appropriate point of care in the past twelve months.

The program, similar to that of many cities, handles non-criminal behavior that is dangerous to the individual or disruptive to downtown business. Though “protective custody” is mandated by Alaska Statute Title 47.37.170(b) for publicly incapacitated individuals, law enforcement agencies are unable to handle every call in Fairbanks.

Three CSP ambassadors from Securitas, Inc. fill this need in a specific area downtown. The entire program, including van maintenance, fuel, cell phones and wages, operates on an $185,000 annual budget.

These ambassadors are familiar faces on the streets of Fairbanks.

Officer David Edmond came to Fairbanks from South Carolina as an infantry soldier.  He notices some differences in his newest line of work. “In the army infantry, you’re aggressive,” David explains. “(CSP) is about helping people the best you can. You’ve got to have patience. You’ve got to know how to talk to people.”

Officer Jacob Blackburn started work with the CSP in March. He grew up in Anchorage before moving to Fairbanks to earn a history degree. He likes to recommend the Fairbanks Community Museum when visitors stop him to ask for a local opinion.  “I really, really wanted this post,” Jacob says of his new assignment. “It’s pretty much the best security post in Fairbanks because you actually get to walk around and meet people instead of just telling them to get off a lawn.”

Supervisor William (Eric) Yost has worked with the team since early 2010. He had ten years of hospital security under his belt before coming downtown, along with twelve years as a hunting guide.  Does patience come naturally to him?  “Oh no- no, no, no, no.” Eric laughs, eyes wide. He is quick to credit basic training in the military, where he served as a military police officer for five years.

Each ambassador follows protocol for finding an appropriate point of care for inebriated individuals, with home as the first priority. “You always ask them, ‘Do you have a home to go to?’” David outlines. “If they say yes, it’s best if they can give you a phone number. The person who answers has to be over 18, sober, and willing to accept them.”

Jacob and Eric reinforce that CSP can handle problems aside from inebriates. “Because we’re on foot in the downtown area- we can usually be there as fast as the police and we can help with any nonviolent problems,” Jacob emphasizes- from shoplifting to vehicle breakdowns.  And the foot patrol has other advantages.

“It gives the downtown area a more personable feel because we talk to people and get to know them,” Eric says. Jacob adds, “We actually get to meet people- whether that be store owners, visitors, or the people we assist.”

David says his time on the streets has helped him get to know many of the individuals he transports. “From what I see, most of them don’t want to be an alcoholic.” David says. “They don’t want to live that life. When you see them sober- they’re different people. They’ll say hi to you, thank you.”  Though misconceptions still abound, David takes to setting the record straight about his work whenever he gets a chance. “Most people think we’re just the jail van, that we automatically take you to jail,” he laments. “I hate the jail reference. Our main mission is to help you out.

His coworkers share that sentiment. “There isn’t any quota and we’re not out to get people- we’re there to try to help them as much as we can, “ Jacob points out. “You can still catch hypothermia at 60 degrees in the rain.”

So -how do you know a CSP officer when you see one?  In the summer, look for red polos with “Community Service Patrol” across the back. In winter? “We look like the big navy blue Michelin tire man,” Eric jokes. “Put the bibs on along with the overcoat and you could be a double.”

The patrol is available by phone at 907-978-6100.

Community Service Patrol

CITY DOES IT: $50,000 FOR THE COMMUNITY SERVICE PATROL

On Monday November 22, the Fairbanks City Council voted 6-0 to financially support the operations of the Community Service Patrol with $50,000 per year through 2013.  (News-Miner story and editorial.)  The City’s move punctuates a successful year of bolstering Fairbanks’ response to both the troubles faced by chronically inebriate people and the challenges they present to the Fairbanks community.  Successes downtown in 2010 include:

-          A ‘Housing First’ effort in Fairbanks is progressing;

-          The Alaska Mental Health Trust provided $64,000 to the operations of the CSP;

-          Additional Alaska Mental Health funds also purchased a new van for the CSP;

-          Keystone supporters of the CSP increased their giving in 2010:  Fairbanks Memorial Hospital increased by12% and Doyon Ltd by 33%;

-          The Fairbanks North Star Borough now supports the CSP’s operations, matching the Hospital’s contribution;

-          Discussions have revived among downtown landowners about creating a Downtown Improvement District to help support the operations of the CSP and other supplemental services.

There is much more yet to do.  The ordinance requires a hefty $140,000 match to get the City’s $50,000 contribution to the CSP.  Still, the City’s action does much to ensure that the City can cost-effectively meet the requirements of state law while encouraging others to participate in our community’s response to chronically inebriated people.    One thing you can do right now is thank City Council members Vivian Stiver and John Eberhart for sponosring the ordinance and the whole council for supporting it.

Vivian Stiver                            vstiver@ci.fairbanks.ak.us 347-2102

Chad Roberts                          croberts@ci.fairbanks.ak.us 452-2435

Bernard Gatewood                 bwgatewood@ci.fairbanks.ak.us 978-4723

Jim Matherly                           jmatherly@ci.fairbanks.ak.us 456-6626, Cell 460-1944

Emily Bratcher                        eebratcher@ci.fairbanks.ak.us 460-1658

John Eberhart                          jseberhart@ci.fairbanks.ak.us 452-8251 ext. 3005

Mayor Jerry Cleworth                jcleworth@ci.fairbanks.ak.us 459-6793

Community Service Patrol

CITY STEPPING-UP ON COMMUNITY SERVICE PATROL

The city of Fairbanks is on the cusp of making a four-year commitment to support the operations of the Community Service Patrol.  While acknowledging that the CSP saves the Fairbanks Police Department as much as $250,000 per year by handling non-criminal activity presented by incapacitated persons downtown, city council members also voice support for joining – and encouraging – a community-wide effort to address the problems confronted by and presented by chronically inebriated people.

For ten months ended June 30, 2010, three CSP Ambassadors operating in a defined area downtown initiated and resolved 1,465 encounters with chronically inebriated people. These encounters resulted in:

  • 1,087 transports in the CSP van from the downtown to an ‘appropriate point of care’;
  • Service to 286 unique individuals;
  • 43 individuals relied heavily on CSP transport to points of care (> 6 transports/year);
  • Blood alcohol levels exceeded .300 in 328 of the transports, or 30% (this is nearly 4 times the legal limit for driving while intoxicated);
  • 68 individuals had injuries or complaints requiring CSP transport to the hospital;
  • CSP found 6 individuals with injuries requiring EMS transport to the hospital;
  • 71 individuals were pre-empted from getting inebriated (CSP discarded their alcohol).

Ordinance 5822 is co-sponsored by council members Vivian Stiver and John Eberhart.  It is likely to go for a vote Monday, November 22.  If you support a positive business climate downtown, and if you support a community response for the chronically inebriated people in our community, please contact City Council members and Mayor Jerry Cleworth.

Vivian Stiver                         vstiver@ci.fairbanks.ak.us                  347-2102

Chad Roberts                        croberts@ci.fairbanks.ak.us               452-2435

Bernard Gatewood             bwgatewood@ci.fairbanks.ak.us        978-4723

Jim Matherly                         jmatherly@ci.fairbanks.ak.us             456-6626, Cell 460-1944 

Emily Bratcher                      eebratcher@ci.fairbanks.ak.us           460-1658

John Eberhart                        jseberhart@ci.fairbanks.ak.us            452-8251 ext. 3005

Mayor Jerry Cleworth         jcleworth@ci.fairbanks.ak.us             459-6793

Downtown Association of Fairbanks – Fairbanks Alaska