Police in Provo go above and beyond to help homeless woman find shelter, reunite with family

Posted at 9:38 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 11:01:18-05

PROVO, Utah -- A homeless woman living in a Provo park for months finally received the help she needed after police officers went above and beyond the call of duty.

Night after night, in the bitter cold, the woman in her '50s slept right in Maeser Park. Police say the woman suffered from some mental issues and somehow became separated from her family.

Officers said it was a challenge, but they were determined to get her out of the cold.

"Several of the officers went out to check on her in the past, we've always found that she was hesitant to receive help," said Officer Carter Grow.

Kory Camp lives across the street from the park. He and his neighbors feared for the woman's life.

"I hated like going to bed, you know at night, and realizing, 'Hey, I'm in this nice warm house--65, 70 degrees--and she is stuck out there,'" Camp said.

Police say the woman refused to fill out the paper work needed to enter a shelter. However, Grow refused to give up, going beyond the job description and taking his own time to collaborate with outside agencies.

"We basically pleaded with her to accept some help, we let her know there were several agencies out there who wanted to help her and provide her assistance," Grow said. "Finally in the conversation there was a breakthrough, and the female decided to accept some help from us."

Several police officers helped the woman collect her belongings and move into a Provo motel, which was made available through the Food and Care Coalition.

"You know we are here to help our citizens, that's our purpose, we want our citizens to know that you can trust us: We're here, we are guardians," said Officer Nisha Henderson.

Police said once that trust was gained, they were able to learn the woman's identity and track down her family.

"The daughter had only known that she came to Provo several months ago, she didn't know anything beyond that, she hadn't heard anything, she didn't know where she was staying or what she was doing, had no way to get a hold of her," Grow said. "When they found out that we were in contact with her mother she was extremely relieved."

This woman, who is no longer homeless thanks to police, is expected to be reunited with her daughter within the next few days. Police said this happy ending goes beyond them, saying it was really a community effort.