All this week the Spokane Police Department has been flooding the downtown area with officers in response to complaints from businesses that street kids are assaulting customers and damaging property.
This week a lot of Spokane police have been spending at least part of their day or night shift patrolling the downtown area. Even the department's top brass is down here trying to figure out why the core of our city has become such a popular hangout for either homeless or disconnected teens.
"Also try to make contact with any potential problems or people creating quality of life issues in the downtown area," Spokane Police Lieutenant Justin Lundgren said.
Spokane's juvenile court staff did a street kid survey in June and 45 percent of them said they wanted help finding and keeping employment.
"When you're on the streets it's really hard to get a job if you're sleeping outside you just can't go to work everyday and take a shower and put your work clothes on and go to work," Dillon said.
Unfortunately street kids are loyal to a fault. 17 year old Pepper says she isn't ready to leave her street family behind.
"I just can't look at my own life and decide I'm going to go and make it better when I think about the people I've slept under bridges with, people who have given me the shirt off their back, people who cared about me when they had nothing," Pepper said.
Spokane's juvenile court staff is also trying to connect these kids with services that could get them off the street. Probation officer Chris Chittum uses a bike instead of a patrol car to connect with kids living on the streets.
"Bike patrol allows us to come down and supervise these guys, make contact with them out on the streets where you stand a better chance of exacting some sort of change in their lives," Chittum explained.