Bond develops between Detroit police officer and homeless man

‘I gotta help this brother out’

An unlikely friendship has come about after Detroit Police Department created its Unsheltered Response Team, a group designed to help homeless people in the city.

DETROIT – Detroit Police Department’s Unsheltered Response Unit is a new branch of the department devoted to helping homeless people in the city recover.

With over 1,500 homeless people within the city limits, it has led to a special bond between an officer and one of the men he’s sworn to protect.

It’s an unlikely friendship between corporal Marcus Harris II and Adrian Hugh that was created through DPD’s unsheltered response team.

“I was just staying there trying to ride out the storm and God sent me Marcus out of nowhere,” said Hugh.

Adrian had just moved here from California when he had fallen down on hard times after being robbed of everything, including his ID and social security card. When he had nowhere to go, he was sleeping at a closed gas station on Detroit’s East side and that’s where he met Marcus.

“It’s something about his spirit that grabbed onto me. I was like, I gotta help this brother out. He’s one of our own. He’s sleeping outside in the city of Detroit. We gotta help him out,” said Officer Harris.

Thanks to the goals and mission of the Unsheltered Response Unit, officers were able to find resources to get Adrian the help he needed.

They got him off of the streets and helped him to get back crucial documents that had been taken away.

“We got Adrian at Team Wellness right now. Getting him set up for housing. And that’s our job, to get people set up for housing, get their documentation such social security, birth certificate,” Officer Harris explained.

Fast forward just weeks later and not only is Adrian back on his feet, but he’s also working his way to a new job and soon, a new home.

“I been homeless for a year and a half altogether, sleeping out on the streets. I’m very blessed and feel very fortunate to have Officer Harris in my life now,” Adrian told Local 4.

Through all of it, Adrian is maintaining his relationship with Officer Harris, in what has become somewhat of a brotherhood.

“Talk every day pretty much. He’ll call me and say ‘hey Officer Harris how you doing? Just calling on you to say how you doin’ and I’ll call him to say what’s going on. How’s your mental over there? You’re doing good? Stay positive,” said Officer Harris.

“I’m not the crying type. But when he offered to help me, I literally had to turn around and wipe the tears out my eyes,” said Hugh.

Adrian would like to thank Team Wellness and the Neighborhood Service Organization who also had a part in helping him bounce back.

About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.