Sheriff says he's not going to displace, arrest Macon homeless

Sheriff Davis discusses homeless evictions

Up and down the Ocmulgee River, more than a dozen tents are home to some of Macon's homeless population. 

Bibb Sheriff David Davis says his deputies will be on hand Monday as backup as campsites come down.

Walking down the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, you might see campsites on both sides of the river. 

Michele Raffaldt says she's been living in a tent for about 6 months, but Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert says it's time for the tents like hers to go. 

RELATED: Homeless talk about Macon mayor's plan to boot them from riverfront

According to Sheriff David Davis, his deputies will be on hand as a safety net for Bibb County Public Works employees as they take down campsites.

"We're not coming in there roughshod to tear up all their property, displace them, and go put them in jail," said Davis.

Davis says homeless people have always been there along the river, but the interchange constructions made them more visible.

"We don't have anywhere to tell them to go. It's just that they're going to be told that they cannot be where they're at right now any longer. Wherever else that they find to settle is on them," Davis said.

The big problem to Davis is there's no long-term for solution for the homeless and they could end up closer to downtown.

Davis said, "When they move from this particular location, who's to say they're not going to turn up in some vacant lot up off of Broadway or up off of Poplar Street somewhere to where they're going to have to be moved once again?"

As for Raffaldt, she's not planning on going quietly.

"They're not moving me. That's all there is to it. They're not going to move me," Raffaldt said.

Davis says the county is also providing a one-way bus ticket to any homeless person looking to go home for the holidays.

Mayor Reichert says one reason for moving the tents is the large number of complaints from people about the homeless, but Sheriff Davis says in recent months, his office has responded to just one serious incident involving a homeless person. That involved a person who was apparently hallucinating.

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