Wyoming police: 'Donate directly' to charity instead of feeding panhandler's addiction

Wyoming police: 'Donate directly' to charity instead of feeding panhandler's addiction

CHEYENNE, WY (WIS) - The Cheyenne, WY Police Department is making a strong stance against panhandlers in their community by taking to social media following an arrest.

The post, written on July 23, details the July 22 arrest of a homeless person who the police department knows very well. The person was arrested for public intoxication and other offenses. The photo showed the more than $200 the person had on them, collected while panhandling.

The message from the police department was clear: the homeless person was not using the cash for his survival, but for alcohol. Next to the cash was the sign the person used: "Broke. Need Help. God bless."

Their message says:

Yesterday, July 22, we arrested a transient for public intoxication. This is a person we frequently deal with, but we want to illustrate that there are better ways to help the transient population than to give them money for panhandling. This person collected $234.94 in just a few hours of asking for money. Rather than feeding someone's alcohol addiction, you can donate directly to local charities such as the Comea Shelter where your money will assist the homeless in a much more effective way.

The post has been shared more than 36,000 times, with many commenters criticizing the police department and claiming that they would keep the person's money. Other comments include how others choose to deal with panhandlers and others asking for money outside of businesses and at intersections.

Police detailed the incident and said that the cash shown was logged and will be returned to the person upon their release from jail.

"We want to clarify several things regarding this post. This person was arrested for public intoxication, having an open container of alcohol, urinating in public, and refusing to obey commands. Subsequent to that arrest we logged in his property for safekeeping," police said. "Of course, this money is his and will be returned to him when he is released from jail. The money is counted and all of his property is inventoried so that it can be returned to him upon his release. This is standard for every arrest we make in which property is held for safekeeping."

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