Two separate arrests Monday morning at Library Park was the beginning of an attempt by Manteca Police to clean up the daily gatherings of homeless and often intoxicated transients in and around the park that has inhibited mothers from bringing their young children to enjoy the new play equipment.
Officers first spotted Jeremiah Scheerenga, 33, near Union Road and West Yosemite Avenue riding his bicycle with a backpack on his shoulders thinking he might have outstanding warrants for his arrest.
Scheerenga made it to Library Park in minutes and was arrested by officers who were focused on the restroom activities that have been used in the past for shooting up drugs. Scheerenga was arrested for being a parolee-at-large and transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp.
Shortly afterwards Anna Avila, 41, was detained for being intoxicated in public at the park and transported to the Manteca Police Department by officer Steve Beermann.
Sgt. Jodie Estarziau stressed that everyone on the street is not on drugs while, on the other hand, it is difficult to know what is going on inside the restrooms at the park. With the warm weather and the coming spring bringing more children being at the park, officers are focusing on any negative elements they observe, she added.
It becomes more of a problem in the late afternoon hours, she said, when young kids are coming home from school and hang out in groups at the park.
“A lot of times we come across people who are not criminals, they just need to get some place. They don’t have a job and don’t have more than $5 in their pockets – they have to eat too,” she said.
Sgt. Estarziau said it would be great to be able to have bus passes once again to get these people back to their homes when they are without resources and in need of lodging or have a desire to return to their families in other cities.
Bus passes would be a legitimate resource for someone finding themselves in an unsolvable predicament when they are in need of shelter, she added.
The transient men and single women are in more of a quandary since Manteca has no shelters for them like the city does provide for homeless women with children as well as homeless families.