published Monday, May 5th, 2014

Police officer partrols, keeps order in Savannah homeless camps

Savannah Metro Police Department Homeless Liaison Officer Tom Gentner, right, gathers contact information from a young couple living under the ramps of the Truman Parkway in Savannah, Ga. Since September 2013 the Savannah police department gave Gentner the task of keeping track of over three hundred homeless people living near the historic downtown area. The couple later found temporary housing with the help of Gentner. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Savannah Metro Police Department Homeless Liaison Officer Tom Gentner, right, gathers contact information from a young couple living under the ramps of the Truman Parkway in Savannah, Ga. Since September 2013 the Savannah police department gave Gentner the task of keeping track of over three hundred homeless people living near the historic downtown area. The couple later found temporary housing with the help of Gentner. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Tom Gentner stands in the entrance to a tent during a search for a suspected felon in the tent camp. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    Homeless Liaison Officer Tom Gentner, right, leads a group wanting to donate clothing past a memorial for a woman who died in a tent fire in a wooded area behind the Savannah College of Art and Design's Boundary Village in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SAVANNAH — Officer Tom Gentner works a police beat few Savannah, Ga., residents ever see, patrolling 20 rustic camps populated by hundreds of homeless people tucked away in the woods and under highway overpasses.

Savannah-Chat-ham County police assigned Gentner as the department’s homeless liaison last year. He gets no partner and no extra budget. Just a patrol car he drives down dirt roads to camps. He keeps a milk crate in the trunk containing files he’s compiled on many of the 360 homeless residents.

“He keeps the riffraff out of here,” said Larry Lewis, who lives at one of the camps.

When a couple wanted for jumping bail in Florida moved into one of the camps, residents tipped off Gentner.

Besides investigating crimes, he also mediates disputes between camp residents and helps charities organize food and blanket donations.

about Associated Press...

The Associated Press

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.