Police team up with social workers to better respond to crises in community

News

RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — There’s been a lot of calls nationwide and in Central Illinois for social workers to respond to 9-1-1 calls. A new partnership in Rantoul is doing just that.

“The police department recognized that there was a need to address mental health, substance abuse, those kind of crisis,” Sergeant Christina Reifsteck with Rantoul Police said.

A new program in Rantoul will be giving extra help to members in the community.

“The police can get called there, once they’re identifying that its more of trauma and not really a criminal issue is there something that we can further provide where we link services for them to maybe work on bettering themselves or addressing issues that haven’t been addressed,” Reifsteck said.

They have a social worker or a crisis trained police officer available to respond to 9-1-1 calls.

“We want to put together hence the 4U program, the four components, the four principles that we would like to focus on here in the community and we do see that further expanding out,” Reifsteck said.

Those four pillars will include crisis intervention, advocacy, community outreach and social service assistance to the community and if the call comes in the middle of the night. They will send a social worker the next day.

“A big component of what we’ve been doing too is the after care component. So an officer may deal with somebody at two in the morning, we don’t have a social worker to address that issue, but what we can do is on that next shift is we then can go back and reach out to them,” Reifsteck said.

Tasha Saltsgaver is a social work case manager working hand in hand with the Rantoul Police Ddepartment on this program.

“There to support anyone in the community that has had police contact to reduce further contact going forward and trying to be that after care support for people for mental health or substance abuse,” Saltsgaver said.

She hopes this program will be able to give people the help they need.

“I think it’ll be benefiting the community with someone there to support them and get them into the services that they need. If they don’t know the services that are out there, there’s someone there that can help support them and find those services,” Saltsgaver said.

For more information, they have a Facebook page set up.

https://www.facebook.com/4URantoul-100157945666783/

University of Illinois Police also have a similar program. They will have social workers respond to calls as well and give that help to those who need it.

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