Should Police Pose As Homeless People To Nab Motorists?


Maplewood, Mn., police officer Paul Bartz posed as a “Homeless Harry” holding up a sign – “Will work for food” – as he approached and looked inside a line of waiting vehicles. Bartz, as well as “Homeless Harriet,” his unidentified female North St. Paul police counterpart, helped fellow officers issue 122 citations, most for not wearing a seat belt, during a 3 1/2-hour operation, says St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario.

“I’ve never heard of this before, and I believe it’s highly inappropriate and making a mockery of the homeless,” says Liz Kuoppala of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. Maplewood Deputy Police Chief Dave Kvam makes no apologies for the crackdown. “We’re in a can’t-win situation,” he said. “We’re like umpires in a game. No matter what you do, at least half the crowd will be against you.” Motorists gave Bartz $93 in donations before some got nabbed. The money was given to a food bank.

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