During the dog days of summer in South Florida, the heat has reached record temperatures.
It’s been so hot out that several heat advisories were issued. In some areas, temperatures felt like they were in the 100s. That’s why one Miami police officer hands out ice-cold water to the homeless as they try to deal with the stifling conditions.
Officer James Bernat is the Homeless Coordinate for the department. He’s been serving the homeless community in Downtown Miami and near Northwest 17th Street for more than three years.
On Thursday, Officer Bernat went out to help the homeless community during the heat advisory. Cold bottled water was not the only item he delivered to people.
"I carry shoes, toys, baby clothing, whatever is needed and as I see folks that need. I stop and I always give them something," said Bernat.
The officer has more than 10,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook. He says he takes a different approach to policing in the homeless community.
"Instead of traditional policing and criminalizing a homeless for a life-conduct misdemeanor, we have shelter beds that are exclusive to the Miami police and I have a homeless outreach team officers under my command,” said Bernat.
The team has access to 73 beds at local shelters and a list of resources.