Public Service Recognition Week, May 6-12, 2018

I am honored to have been selected as one of seven Public Service Exemplars by the Suncoast Chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators (ASPA).

A Public Service Exemplar is a person dedicated to serving the public with the highest level of performance, integrity and pride. An exemplar’s conduct serves as a model for public and non-profit employees (Source: Suncoast Chapter, ASPA).

When I started police homeless outreach in 2012, I never expected this program to become so successful. My colleagues and I have housed hundreds of homeless clients. I have even arranged a wedding for one couple that has been together for 22 years, lacking $93 for a marriage license.

We took a new approach to an old problem – homelessness. Instead of arresting the homeless over and over, sometimes hundreds of times, why not address the cause rather than the symptom? Our method of housing, called Housing First, solves a variety of social problems while yielding huge cost savings for the taxpayers.

I have to commend TPD for taking a leap of faith in 2012 when they asked me to take a new look at an old problem. Thanks also to my colleagues; we work as a one to end homelessness. And of course, the USF MPA program for giving me the tools to succeed.

May 6-12, 2018 is Public Service Recognition Week. Please be sure to thank a public servant this week. It’s a team effort to keep your water running, to answer your calls to 9-1-1 , to pave and plow your streets, to catch the criminals, to put out the fires and to manage your cities.