Jason Farris had no idea what his job entailed when the Laguna Beach Police Department selected him three years ago to work with the city's homeless population — nor did city officials.
He was honored at the March 1 City Council meeting, with commendations from council members, City Manager John Pietig and Police Chief Paul Workman, who announced that Officer Mike Short will succeed Farris as the department's community outreach officer.
"You stepped into a really difficult situation, and I don't think we could have found a better person to do the job," said Mayor Toni Iseman. "When we were walking downtown, I saw the relationship you had with the homeless — how they knew you and you knew them and they would do for you what they wouldn't do for anyone else. I thought, 'this guy's got magic.' "
Iseman and Councilman Kelly Boyd, who represented the council on two task forces that dealt with homeless issues, worked closely with Ferris.