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More social workers are responding to emergency calls in Salt Lake City



Salt Lake City, Utah – In Salt Lake City, more social workers are answering emergency calls. A group of social workers and case managers from the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Community Connection Center respond to crime scenes.

News reports from 2020 indicated that law enforcement social workers required additional staff and hours.

The CCC team follows up with customers at times, and occasionally they respond to emergencies alongside officers.

Every week or every other week, Brian Williams would check in with one of his clients.

“He had attempted to take his life. He was very standoffish at first. He didn’t have a lot of trust in the police,” Williams said. “I really care about him. I got super worried when I knocked on his window, and he didn’t answer. You really just get to know the clients you work with; for him, it’s a lot about helping out with his dog.”

Sarah Pickett discussed Mary, one of her clients.

“Mary has been on our radar for about a year now. She is an older, more vulnerable lady who we want to check on. She calls dispatch concerned for her safety sometimes, so we just want to make sure she’s okay,” Pickett said.

The program’s director is Karen Montano.

“Last week we had three suicide calls in one night,” she said. “I started right before the pandemic back in 2020. At the time, we only had five social workers.”

The program now includes sixteen social professionals. With four more hires, they planned to have a crew of twenty.

When it was first established, the CCC team was similarly only accessible Monday through Friday. Social workers are now on call from 8:00 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week.
According to Mantano, a few factors contributed to the department’s expansion.

“The push toward police reform, plus more mental health awareness, and I think people are identifying what the needs are in the community more,” she said.

They had communicated with 1,400 individuals by 2020. They communicated with about four times as many people in 2023.

Williams said, “Mental health isn’t something you just slip under the rug.”


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