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LA police chief vows to erase homeless people's warrants

In this Wednesday, July 10, 2019, photo Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore poses for a photo in downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles police chief said he hopes in the coming weeks the city will eliminate old bench warrants for thousands of homeless people, a move he believes can be part of the solution to get part of the population off the streets. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles police chief says he’s working to eliminate thousands of homeless people’s old warrants for minor offences in the coming weeks.

Michel Moore told The Associated Press in an interview that it can be part of the solution to help get people off the streets.

Homelessness rose 16% in the city over the past year, to more than 36,000 people. The issue has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump, who threatened to intervene this month.

Moore’s plan calls for dismissing warrants for things such as drinking in public or blocking a sidewalk that can plague homeless people for years and rack up hundreds of dollars in fees.

The chief says homelessness is a public health and safety concern rather than a law enforcement issue that requires more mental health, sanitation and housing resources.

Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press