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Author: Celia Goble
Date: Apr. 2021
From: Fordham Urban Law Journal(Vol. 48, Issue 4)
Publisher: Fordham Urban Law Journal
Document Type: Article
Length: 16,885 words
Lexile Measure: 2240L

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Introduction 1022 I. Protests, Vigilantes, and Charity: Policing and Social Work Reform and the Quest for Professionalization 1077 A. Black Lives Matter 1077 B. The Police in the United States 1029 C. Social Workers in the United States 1032 D. 911: The Current Emergency Response System 1035 II. Social Workers Recognize the Issues in Police Emergency Response but Disagree on Whether They Are the Solution 1036 A. No, Social Workers Should Not Be Involved in Law Enforcement 1037 i. The Police Are Not Sufficiently Trained in Working with Mental Health Issues or Mental Health Workers 1037 ii. BIPOC and Other Marginalized Communities Already See Social Workers as Agents of State Control 1041 B. Yes, Social Workers Should Be Involved in Law Enforcement 1043 i. Social Workers Should Work Within Police Departments 1043 ii. Social Workers Should Work in Partnership with Police as Co-responders 1046 iii. Social Workers Should Work as Community Responders (911-Routed) 1047 III. Social Workers and Police: Collaboration in Practice 1050 A. Social Workers Within Police Departments 1050 B. Social Workers in Partnership with Police as Co-responders 1051 C. Social Workers as Community Responders (911-Routed) 1054 D. An NYC Pilot Program in the Works 1055 IV. A Proposal for New York and Other Cities Contemplating Change 1057 A. The Community Responder Model: An Alternative to Traditional Police Reform 1057 B. A Path Forward: Public Data, 911 Reform, Direct Funding, and a Holistic Approach 1059 1065


Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi established the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013 in response to Trayvon Martin's death and his killer's subsequent acquittal. (1) Since then, their movement has gained traction around the world with the protests in response to the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd. (2) During the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, people across the United States joined in calls to defund the police and increase community investment. Advocates suggest that social workers could replace or supplement police officers, although some social workers passionately object to their further incorporation into law enforcement. (3) Social workers, as well as law enforcement members, fiercely debate whether an increase in collaborative work is the right policy move.

Those in favor of incorporating social workers into law enforcement and emergency response highlight the extensive training that social workers undergo for licensure. (4) Social workers have experience in deescalation and routinely work with people with mental illnesses or disabilities. (5) Social workers also have experience with diagnosis, assessment, and intervention, among other crucial skills for emergency response work. (6) Further, proponents point out that social workers are already integrated into police emergency response teams. (7) Angelo McClain, the CEO of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), argues that these social workers support the police in responding to emergency calls more compassionately and "help police excel in fulfilling their mission to protect and serve," (8) and further incorporation would support the progress already made.

On the other hand, there are various reasons why social workers should not be the...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A663050697