“It’s really about meeting people where they are at…” says Washington State Patrol (WSP) Trooper Chase Van Cleave.
Since last year, Trooper Van Cleave has partnered with local organizations to provide outreach for people in need at rest stops. Trooper Van Cleave explains that rest stops along Interstate 5 are inherently busy, and in response, troopers increased their proactive patrols to ensure they were being used for their intended purpose.
Troopers quickly realized a need that went beyond just proactive patrols. “There were families in crisis, people living out of the rest areas, and staying overnight or for extended periods of time,” says Trooper Van Cleave.
According to state law, visitors cannot stay at a rest area for longer than eight hours. To learn more about the state’s safety rest areas, see the Washington State Department of Transportation’s website here: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Safety/RestAreas/About
After realizing this need for outreach, the Washington State Patrol partnered with local organizations to provide services and resources to people who were not able to find it elsewhere. Throughout 2018, Trooper Van Cleave and the WSP held several outreach events to help connect people with everything from food to housing assistance. One of our goals this year is to continue this program throughout 2019. We cannot thank everyone and every organization who has provided us a helping hand in finding long-term solutions for people facing crises.
“Our goal is to do more [of these events] continuing into next year…as long as the need is here, the families in crisis are here, we will continue to address that need and help them as much as we can.”