© 2024
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fargo Police Chief Zibolski talks homelessness with interim Legislative committee

Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski
City of Fargo
Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski

Fargo Police Chief Dave Zibolski says people in the community often correlate the presence of homeless people with the fear of crime or safety, even if those individuals are merely present in a public space.

Zibolski testified before the Legislature’s interim Government Services Committee, which is studying the issue of homelessness and barriers to housing. He told the Committee there are some homeless who need mental health treatment – and that number has grown.

"These kinds of calls for services have placed an increasing and consistent strain on police services, perception of community safety, and the mental well-being of our police staff, who deal with many of the same persons day in and day out — many of whom have significant chronic mental health issues that are unaddressed," Zibolski told the Committee. "On any given day, they can be cooperative, or they can be extremely aggressive."

Zibolski said in 2023, his department responded to over 2700 calls for mental health related service – and he says of that total, just over 400 incidents involved the same 15 individuals. He told the Committee Fargo has what he termed “robust” front end services for the homeless with mental health issues.

"But what we don't have is moderate to long-term treatment facilities in our region to address these issues," Zibolski said.

The Committee is to come up with proposed legislation for the 2025 session.

Related Content