Police Remove Homeless Camps Along River

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Several tent communities along the Ohio River near Harris Riverfront Park are now gone, due to safety concerns by Huntington Police.

Officers and sanitation crews went from site to site Tuesday morning, picking up tents and trash that was left behind.

"It's something we have to do," sanitation worker Ryan Slater said. "I mean, we can't just leave all that stuff down there. I mean, I feel bad for the people but we just can't let them live on the riverbank like this either."

Last week, police told people living near or under the 6th Street bridge they would have one week to move.

Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook said these homes are neither clean nor safe for the people living in them or those visiting the park.

"We've had a lot of instances that were related to public intoxication, panhandling, and occasionally there would be assaults of homeless people on each other," Holbrook said.

Officers made it clear that they are not doing this to attack anyone living there, but to make sure that the area stays clean and safe.

“I think we're being more than fair and prudent in trying to maintain safety and also see to the needs of folks that may be down on their luck,” Holbrook said.

Officers worked with the local homeless shelters to make sure everyone had a place to stay.

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