A new Community Engagement Team in East Lansing will work on conflict resolution and crisis intervention for the city’s police department.
The team has six members. Two are full-time social workers with the East Lansing Police Department, while four will work part-time as neighborhood resource specialists.
ELPD Deputy Chief Steve Gonzalez says the social workers can help resolve problems that are beyond the scope of an officer’s training. "Once a scene is secure and everything is safe," Gonzalez explains, "a social worker may respond with that officer to the scene and actually be able to mitigate whatever problem may be going on.”
Gonzalez continues “someone that might be experiencing homelessness, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, those types of things, they’re able to work with those individuals and connect them with the services that can hopefully give them some long-term care that traditionally law enforcement isn’t able to do.”
The neighborhood resource specialists can step in to help resolve complaints related to noise and other minor issues.