Community Organizers and Marxist Protest groups are operating on a false assumption in their push for “police reform” pushing the idea that Social Workers can replace police, but few stopped to ask whether Social Workers want to replace police.
In many cases, for many social workers the answer is, “NO!” Especially not in Buffalo New York.
More than 160 mental health professionals and social workers signed a letter addressed to Mayor Byron Brown and Buffalo Common Council members voicing concerns.
The Mayor said his team had been working on the plan for years, so the idea that Social Workers didn’t like it, was a surprise for him, because apparently he didn’t talk to them.
He has been working on this for years, he said on Friday.
A group of social workers, mental health professionals and concerned community members met outside Buffalo City Hall Thursday to denounce Mayor Byron W. Brown’s proposal for a new police unit that would pair officers with social workers on mental health emergency calls.
On Monday – two days after a Buffalo Police officer shot and wounded a homeless man who has a history of mental illness – Brown announced the new team would be rolled out very quickly.
A group of social workers, mental health professionals and members of Agents of Change penned a letter in opposition to that plan, which was sent to the mayor and Common Council members Thursday.
“While embedding social workers into police departments or having social workers accompany police on mental health calls may appeal to the general public, it is ineffective, unsafe and unproven to reduce police violence in mental health crisis situations,” said Nicolalita Rodriguez, a clinical social worker, during a news conference on the steps of City Hall.
Advocates for police reform in Buffalo and across the country have called for new strategies for responding to emergency situations involving people who are having a mental health crisis, including pairing police with mental health professionals
Brown, in a statement Thursday, said research shows there is a place for cooperation between social workers and law enforcement when responding to people in emotional distress, and he didn’t want to embrace the “few people who objected” who came out “into the street” to protest his plans.
“Many situations require both a trauma-informed care approach by a social worker and the presence of police because the individual may still be a danger to themselves or others, including the social worker who is responding,” Brown stated.
Tia Bowman, a social worker with Agents of Change, said at the news conference that the training and education of social workers is grounded in an entirely different ideology from that of police officers.
“The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being,” Bowman said.
“Social workers do not de-escalate with tools used by police enforcement, such as guns, pepper spray and spit bags. Social workers are trained to de-escalate with the most powerful tools, empathy, compassion and connection,” Bowman said .