Mayor Hancock tells police to stop taking tents from homeless people

Hancock says only a few people have had their sleeping bags and tents confiscated.

Protestors who have set up camp in front of the City and County Building to denounce Denver's urban camping ban are removed by police. Nov. 29, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) homeless sweeps; city and county building; police; protest; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
Protestors who have set up camp in front of the City and County Building to denounce Denver’s urban camping ban are removed by police. Nov. 29, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

DENVER (AP) — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is ordering Denver police to temporarily stop taking camping equipment, including tents and blankets, away from homeless people because of frigid weather.

Hancock said Saturday city enforcement of its unauthorized camping ordinance is being suspended through April because the city has a responsibility to protect residents. Hancock says he does not want people to lose their lives because of the ordinance.

Hancock says there are plenty of safe, warm places available for people to sleep at night, but some people choose not to go there.

Hancock says only a few people have had their sleeping bags and tents confiscated. Residents have complained about campsites near a rapidly developing area close to downtown Denver for months.

Police issued nine citations to seven people in two weeks.