The ‘Angel of Skid Row’: Policeman Embraces LA’s Toughest Beat

When Los Angeles police officer Deon Joseph wakes up at 6 a.m. and puts on his uniform, he prepares to patrol one of the most historically impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhoods in the country: Skid Row. The area is home to more than 4,000 people living on the streets. Needles, trash, and encampments line the sidewalks; rapes, robberies, and drugs are rampant. Gangs control much of the 50-block radius, charging transients for “rent.” And the lack of a comprehensive mental health care system has left desperate people suffering in full view of the public. But Joseph—known by locals as the “Angel of Skid Row”—does his job with a smile. It’s not unusual to see him shaking hands or hugging the homeless people he’s come to know over the last two decades while on the clock for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Joseph said he grew up in a neighborhood where people …

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Jamie Joseph
Author: Jamie Joseph

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