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Phoenix officer helps people 'down on their luck'

CBS 5 News CBS 5 News

A Phoenix police officer is working to make a better Arizona through a new program.

Rusty Stuart leads the city's Misdemeanor Repeat Offender Program, formerly called the Street Crime Reduction Program.

Stuart divides the program into two parts: dealing with criminals and helping those who need it before they turn to crime. Stuart stops short of calling them homeless.

"For lack of a better term, what we call somebody who is down on their luck; what the average citizen would think would be homeless," said Stuart.

Stuart has helped a countless number of people get back on their feet.
Once case that sticks out to him is a couple living in their car with five children.

"Their car was breaking down, and they didn't have a lot of resources so we brought some resources to fix up their car, " said Stuart.

Stuart said the approach is personal.

"You look at them as individuals, their history, their criminal history, talk to their families, find out who this person is, and come up with a solution to whatever the problem is," said Stuart.

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