Turlock Police Start Denair Park Crackdown

Alex Cantatore|

The crackdown on Denair Park hoodlums has officially begun, with Turlock police increasing patrols in response to community uproar.

The patrols led to an arrest at Downtown Turlock's Denair Park Wednesday night, locking up a man who had too much to drink.

At 10:57 p.m. Stephen Hanson, 60, was reportedly found passed-out drunk in the park. He was determined to be too drunk to care for his own well-being and was arrested and booked for public intoxication.

According to Turlock Police spokesperson Mayra Lewis, Hanson's arrest was directly attributable to community concern.

“The arrest was as a result of added enforcement in park due to complaints,” Lewis said.. “The enforcement however is not stricter than it would be in any other part of the city.”

Denair Park has become a hot topic in recent weeks, as many businesses and residents say an abundance of vagrants and homeless people are ruining the neighborhood. The park's seedy residents have earned the attention of Turlock City Councilmembers, who asked city staff for an in-depth report on Denair Park issues.

“The community members are very unhappy,” Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden said at the Sept. 10 meeting of council.

As a solution, Councilman Bill DeHart recommended Turlock police begin enforcing some laws already on the books. He pointed to the scores of people who walk from Denair Park to a nearby liquor store, then return to drink alcoholic beverages openly in the park. Drinking is prohibited in Turlock parks.

The Turlock City Council is expected to have a broader discussion on Denair Park and Turlock homelessness in the coming weeks.

Jonathan McCorkell contributed to this story.

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