It’ll be a unique experience for an Abbotsford Police officer, who will spend 24 hours homeless as he aims to create awareness and raise money for the local Salvation Army homeless shelter.
Operations Deputy Chief Constable Dave Schmirler admits this is going to be completely foreign to him.
“I’m looking forward to that part in particular.”
On Thursday evening, he’ll check in and get processed at the Salvation Army homeless shelter in Abbotsford, subject to the same rules as any homeless person who stays there.
The next day is what he’s really looking forward to the most.
“A series of tasks that they would hope a homeless person would also do in order to try and get them off the streets, and we would try and do as much of that as we can.”
Schmirler wants to use his position as an officer to simply remove the interference surrounding homeless and focus on the service providers who aim to keep people off the street.
“There are political issues attached to that, issues with police departments interacting with the homeless. I want to take this opportunity to use my position, put that all aside, and focus on what really needs to be done and help service providers like the Salvation Army who are trying to do something right at the front lines.”
Schmirler is hoping his experience during Homelessness Action Week will allow the public to gain a sense of the difficulties of living homeless while also fundraising for the Salvation Army.