Officer Jason Farris
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Reaching out

Police Officer Jason Farris talks with a homeless man on Main Beach, part of his job as a community outreach officer. The 3-month-old position is part of a wide-ranging effort by the city to end panhandling, public urination and camping that has drawn complaints from residents and merchants. Photo gallery (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Farris doesn’t shoo away the homeless; he aims to build trust with the down and out, coaxing them to seek help. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
During Farris’ morning rounds, a homeless man shows off some of his most prized possessions, photos of friends and loved ones. Farris estimates that so far he has connected at least 10 people with assistance. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Farris waves to a homeless man who recently arrived at the bus station. He reminds people to take their medication or connects them with rides to get help. “If we don’t do something, they will not get better,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.” (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Fred Neidiffer, 66, says his story about being homeless is a long one. Laguna Beach has assembled a special task force to recommend how to move the city’s 50 or so chronically homeless people off the streets. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Farris checks for homeless people under the boardwalk. The city plans to evaluate his work and the progress of other efforts this summer. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Farris is reflected in the sunglasses of a homeless man on the boardwalk. Laguna’s relatively humane approach to combating homelessness is “what every city should be doing,” said the director of O.C. Partnership, a nonprofit that links homeless agencies throughout the county. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)