“Let’s try to do something different:” De Pere Police plan to add social worker to department

Local News

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) — The De Pere Police Department is aiming to solve an age-old problem by adding a position.

“We always seem to be going on the call, and the next week we go on another call at the same place, and then we go on another call at the same place,” Chief Derek Beiderwieden described. “Let’s try to do something different.”

Something different, like having a social worker on staff to follow up on certain types of calls.

“Substance abuse, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, mental health, veterans issues,” the Police Chief listed.

The department’s social worker will pay visits to people involved in those types of calls, after police handle the initial incident, “to provide either services or find resources for those people that need it,” Chief Beiderwieden explained.

De Pere Mayor James Boyd told Local 5 he’s excited to have the new position filled.

“This position really feels the needs for the citizens of De Pere,” he said. “We have a great police department, outstanding police department, but there are some things that are difficult for them to respond to.”

The hope is that the visit from the social worker will help prevent future calls.

“It’s a preemptive approach,” Chief Beiderwieden said. “We’re going to try something up front, and try to get the person the right resources and then we can stop those calls.”

The position was officially approved by the city’s common council earlier this month.

“This was just one thing that was brought forward by the police chief that we fully embraced that would be really beneficial for the citizens of De Pere,” Mayor Boyd said.

The department hopes to have someone on the job by April or May.

“It’s not going to work in every case, we know that,” Chief Beiderwieden said. “But if we can reduce some of the calls and some of the issues that are happening, then that’s what we’re aiming for.”

As of the publishing of this article, the job has not yet been posted.

When it is posted, it will appear on the city’s website.

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