January 11, 2017
“I’m doing what’s called community outreach – or what I call ‘grass roots policing,’” says Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph.
Officer Joseph has been working to create meaningful change for the population of that city’s infamous Skid Row, which serves as a community base for several thousand underprivileged, under served, and other at-risk transient or homeless residents in Downtown Los Angeles.
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Walking the beat, Officer Joseph passes along information about Section 8 housing, job listings, and more. “I find programs and things that are outside Skid Row to help people, because some people can’t get better in Skid Row.”
He says he’s even encouraged some community members to apply for the community police academy “Because they shouldn’t be ostracized or marginalized.”
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“I met Officer Joseph like two months ago,” says a young woman on the beat, who was out of work at the time. “He gave me a 10 page job listing – I got the job.” Another woman says he intervened on her behalf when she was being threatened by gang members.
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“Having an officer like Dion Joseph has made us feel much safer at Union Rescue Mission – made our guests feel so much safer in having a good relationship with the LAPD,” says Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission.
Officer Joseph returns the compliment, calling Bales “My hero.” He says Bales has been his role-model for “patience and love” which he says he incorporates into his policing strategy. “That just helped me be a better police officer and be more sensitive to the needs of the homeless.”
Lead Officer Dion Joseph walks the beat on L.A.’s Skid Row five days a week. Learn more about this extraordinary police officer during a special Behind The Badge segment on Wednesday’s Dr. Phil.
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Click here to find out where you can watch.
“Dr. Phil’s Behind the Badge” initiative shines a light on extraordinary police officers and departments throughout the country who go “above and beyond” to keep us safe and make their communities better.
Do you know a police officer or department making a difference in their community? Tell us your story here.