GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- The Greenville Police Department and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office are partnering with Upstate Warrior Solution to connect veterans in need with resources.

According to Greenville Police Chief Howie Thompson, 40 veterans are housed in the Greenville County Detention Center every month. It’s an outcome local law enforcement is trying to change.

“A lot of times taking people to jail is just not the answer,” Thompson said.

Wednesday, Thompson and Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis signed a memorandum of understanding with Upstate Warrior Solution as city and county council members looked on.

“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this today, not only as the sheriff, but as a veteran,” Lewis said.

The goal of the partnership is for law enforcement officers to connect veterans they encounter with Upstate Warrior Solution for resources like housing, jobs, and health care.

“Maybe they…haven’t committed crimes, but there’s a nuisance problem that they’re homeless or there’s something going on in their family, a situation where they’ve got a domestic situation where they need a helping hand, and it hasn’t risen to the level where there’s an arrest and a criminal activity has occurred,” Thompson said.

Law enforcement is also beginning to collect data on how often they interact with veterans, with incident reports now featuring a box for the responding officer to check if the call involved a vet.
The chair of the board of upstate warrior solution says this partnership will help them reach more people in need.

“What we want is the ability to say how do we find the veteran? And they now become…hundreds of points of light out there to help connect us to people that they run into that we otherwise would not be able to touch base with,” said Maj. Gen. Mastin Robeson, who is the chairman of the board of Upstate Warrior Solution.

More info about the services provided by Upstate Warrior Solution can be found here.