Combining and Giving More Training To Police Officers and Social Workers

Police officers have several duties, such as patrolling neighborhoods, responding to emergency calls, delivering warrants, and arresting violators, among others (Wood, 2021). Sometimes they are tasked with solving a community problem in the scope of practice for social workers to deal with social issues (Rincon, 2021). Some social issues are reported through emergency police calls, which account for almost two-thirds of all police calls received at 911 (Karma, 2020). Most of them concern mental health crises and arguments that infuse interpersonal conflict (Karma, 2020; Patterson & Swan, 2019). 

Although the police show up to attend such a scene, Karma (2020) has found negative consequences, such as panic, shooting, or escalated tension due to misunderstanding the mentally ill person. I have also observed that policing is based on the use of force, which may not be effective in scenarios that require calm interventions. It is a problem and the basis of a critical social problem that concerns taking away police officers and bringing in more social service workers or combining the two and giving more training.

This proposal advocates for combining police and social workers and giving more training in ensuring order because social workers understand the needs of mentally ill people, while police can provide arresting powers where necessary (Avby, 2015; Beck, Pope & Reuland, 2020; Karma, 2020). Besides, social workers have a non-threatening intervention and foster openness to an individual and better solution finding (Lamin & Teboh, 2016; Karma, 2020). Improved collaboration between social workers and police will improve both policing and the delivery of social care services (Foiles, 2020; Kratcoski & Edelbacher, 2019). However, the collaboration is faced with challenges such as a lack of motivation for social workers to get involved in policing cases and inadequate funding (Soto, 2020; Pope & Reuland, 2020).

Some key phrases include crisis intervention, social work, mental health, safeguard, social, police reform, reimaging policing, community policing, social workers and first response, social workers as first responders, prevention rather than response.



Beck, J. & Pope, L. & Reuland, M. (November 2020) Vera Institute- Behavioral Health Crisis Alternatives. Behavioural Health Crisis Alternatives Shifting from Police to Community Responses.

Foiles, J. (2020). We Can’t Just Replace Cops With Social Workers. Slate Magazine.

Karma, R. (2020). We train police to be warriors — and then send them out to be social workers. Vox.

Kratcoski,, P., & Edelbacher, M. (2019). COLLABORATIVE POLICING (3rd ed.). CRC Press.

Lamin, S., & Teboh, C. (2016). Police social work and community policing. Cogent Social Sciences2(1), 1212636.

Patterson, G., & Swan, P. (2019). Police social work and social service collaboration strategies one hundred years after Vollmer. Policing: An International Journal42(5), 863-886.

Rincon, S. (2021). Social Worker’s Professional Skills Complement Police Department Services. Inside St. Charles.

Soto, M. (August 20, 2020) Social Workers Are Rejecting Calls For Them to Replace Police.

Wood, J. (2021). The US police department decided to hire social workers. The Guardian.