The Howard County Police Department’s Academy Class 39 recently experienced what it’s like to live without a roof over your head in Howard County in the winter. The 22 recruits spent the night outside in the cold, rain and snow as a project to help Grassroots, Howard County’s 24-hour crisis intervention center and homeless shelter.

The idea was Chief Gary Gardner’s. As part of their training, he called upon the recruits to help a local organization in need of assistance. A “Sleep Out to End Homelessness” was the result. The recruits served and shared dinner with the people staying the night at the Cold Weather Shelter at Glen Mar United Methodist Church and then spent the night outside in recognition of those who lack a place to live. After a very wintry night, the recruits helped serve breakfast to the shelter guests before leaving.

During the evening, the recruits were visited by Maggiano’s restaurant, which provided the dinner meal for the recruits, church volunteers and guests, as well as Gardner, Grassroots Executive Director Andrea Ingram and County Executive Allan Kittleman.

Prior to the overnight exercise, Academy Class 39 collected supplies and donations for Grassroots. They expect to raise $10,000 for the local crisis intervention center, which often works directly with police officers dealing with crisis situations in Howard County. Donations are still being accepted at