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Officer on a mission to help homeless residents

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    HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) — There’s a Hartford police officer on a mission to help as many homeless people as he possibly can.

When Officer Jim Barrett is walking his beat, people know him.

He’s the Hartford City Hall Chief Security Officer. When you step into his office, you’ll immediately notice hundreds of pictures on the walls.

Each picture is of a person he’s helped, and every story is unique.

“I came across a homeless veteran one day in January wearing flipflops,” Barrett said.

That’s what fueled his mission to help Hartford’s homeless. He told that veteran to go to his office so he could get him clothes and supplies.

“As an NCO in the Army, we don’t leave a man or woman behind,” Barrett said.

Though Barrett is retired from the military, he lives the creed every day. That’s why most of the work he does to help those who are homeless goes beyond his actual job description.

“Officer Barrett actually cares enough to do this stuff on his own time, so it shows more humanity,” said Olajawae McCants.

Those who need guidance come to Barrett’s city hall office for support. Sometimes they need a blanket or socks. Other times they just need someone to listen.

“If you don’t have that connection with these guys out here on the street, they won’t trust you,” Barrett said.

That trust has taken years to establish.

“They see who I’m really about. It’s not this piece of material that I’m wearing on a regular basis. They look at me that I do care,” Barrett said.

Joseph Sabinske is currently living on the streets of Hartford, but Barrett is helping him until he can get into a shelter next month.

“He doesn’t care where you’re at in life. It’s just a characteristic you don’t find much anymore,” Sabinske said.

Barrett has been doing this for several years now. He estimates between 2,000 and 3,000 people have come through his office since his city hall beat began four years ago.

“When they come back and say, ‘hey you saved my life,’ you can’t put a price tag on that,” Barrett said.

Barrett wants the people he helps to inspire others they know to succeed, all while making sure no man or woman gets left behind.

Barrett recently got approved from the Hartford Police Department and mayor’s office to expand his operation city-wide.

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