August 6, 2020

DEFUND THE POLICE:

NEK agency looks to embed social workers with police (Justin Trombly, Aug 5 2020, VT Digger)

A Northeast Kingdom social services nonprofit plans to resume a program to embed workers within regional law enforcement agencies, a move mirroring efforts across the state and the national discourse on policing.

Northeast Kingdom Human Services, the state-designed agency for mental health programs in the region, is looking to fill two positions in the new program, which began in early July. Those future workers will embed with the Vermont State Police barracks in Derby and the Newport Police Department.

The social services agency had already had partnerships with local law enforcement, in which social workers would respond to police calls, said Marcia Stricker, chief of clinical operations.

But the new program would place specialists directly within police departments, able to go with officers to calls.

The idea is twofold: The nonprofit's workers can de-escalate situations and can work with people afterward to prevent further police interactions when unnecessary. 

"They ride with them, they walk the streets with them, they'll check on individuals who may or may not be struggling," said Tonya Davis, emergency services program manager for the nonprofit. 

The danger is obviously that they will be captured by the institution, a danger which can be avoided via having both staffed through National Service.

Posted by at August 6, 2020 9:34 AM

  

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