GLENDALE, Ariz. - A Glendale officer has received an award at the state capitol thanks to how he's worked with vulnerable populations in the community.
For nearly 15 years, Officer Greg Gills has walked city parks trying to help improve the lives of the homeless.
"One of my very first calls I ever took was homeless-related, and I saw there was an issue out there," Mills said.
He's focused on helping those without homes. Often it's just finding common ground.
"I know the human side of it, and I really take that to my work," he said.
This month, Ofc. Mills was recognized for the humanity he's brought to his job with a State Senate proclamation.
"It shows the community that we are doing this work, and that it is recognized," said Glendale Police Information Officer Gina Winn.
Mills says it all starts with a conversation.
"We go out and we talk to people, and identify if they're homeless, how long they've been homeless, and what issues there are," the officer explained. "We try to come up with a plan to get them off the streets. If they don't want help, that's fine; they can enjoy the park."
At the same time, he says his team won't tolerate illegal drugs. While FOX 10 cameras followed him around, there were arrests on the other side of the park he patrols in.
"They came across a pretty large fentanyl bust over here, so as you can see as well maintained as the park is, if we don't keep on it it will go back to the way it was," said Mills.
He says it's about finding a balance that's allowed them to help many in the city.
"We're really making an effort to do right by everybody involved in this," he said.
Mills said his next goal is forming what he calls a "human services coalition" to fill gaps in nonprofits.