Social workers coming to all Kansas City police stations
Publish Date 01/26/2018
For more information, contact: KCPD Media Unit 816-234-5170
The Kansas City Missouri Police Department has secured funding to embed a social worker at all six of its patrol division stations.
The Hall Family Foundation is providing $640,000, and the City of Kansas City is matching that with $470,000 to fund six social workers and a program coordinator for the next three years. The social workers’ primary function is to provide support and act as a resource for officers through community outreach, support and service referrals.
“We are willing to forge nontraditional partnerships that work to decrease crime in our city,” Chief Rick Smith said. “People who don’t have their basic needs met will always look for alternative means. The KCPD is striving to assist with those alternative means, as opposed to criminal means.”
Police aim to have the social workers in place by early March. They will work out of patrol division stations, attend weekly crime meetings and communicate regularly with officers about residents in need of assistance, especially early intervention for at-risk youth.
“There are a lot of people dealing with issues in Kansas City that are frankly not the job of police to address: family problems, poverty, addiction and more,” Chief Smith said. “But it is those very issues that create crime problems in our community. That’s why KCPD took a leadership role in embedding a social worker in one of our inner-city patrol divisions.”
The social worker who pioneered that program in late 2016 – Gina English – will serve as the coordinator for the expanded program. The new social workers will be expected to continue her work with juveniles in detention and in Municipal Court as well as building a diverse network of community resources. They also always must maintain KCPD’s duty to protect and serve the entire community, placing public safety above all.