Editor,

I just wanted to share my experience as a person who was homeless in Tracy, CA, and about my interactions with Tracy Police Officers while being homeless.

First, though, I apologize to the citizens of Tracy, for being an unsightly nuisance. I was one of those who lived in a tent, and, yes, at times was also in El Pescadero Park. I'm so embarrassed and ashamed about that.

Next, I want to thank every single Tracy Police officer that I ever came into contact with, for treating me with respect and dignity during the hardest time of my life! Thank you! Your values of “service, integrity, and excellence,” because you recognize and respect the sanctity of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone, was truly felt by me as I stood before you, all grungy and hopeless.

Last, but definitely not least, is my extreme gratitude to one of your Code Enforcement Officers, Shawn Potter. Officer Potter was the most influential and helpful to me when I finally asked for help. Officer Potter, in the midst of his day, dealing with us homeless at El Pescadero Park, asked how I was doing. When I responded that I was ready to change and didn't know what to do, he stopped in his tracks, looked me in the eyes, and with such a genuine concern and kindness, he made some phone calls to get me some substance abuse help and this was the very beginning of my road to recovery!

Today, I am no longer homeless. I have since moved to Kansas, I am employed, and on Nov. 16, 2021, I celebrated 1 year clean off of drugs. I am typing this up through tears streaming down my face! Tears of gratitude! Today I am a responsible, acceptable, and productive member of society, and it all started because a police officer named Shawn Potter took the time to help, and continue to encourage a homeless, hopeless, drug addict find a new way to live!

Officer Potter, to you I say, "Thanks, Brother!" I'll always be grateful for the help and encouragement that you gave me! Stay safe and God bless all of you!

With so much sincere respect and gratitude.

Heather Trueblood, Lenexa, Kansas

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