City Council bill proposes placing social workers in every NYPD precinct

The proposal, dubbed a win-win by its proponents, aims to address longstanding challenges faced by police precincts in handling social and emotional issues beyond their expertise.

Edric Robinson

May 16, 2024, 10:15 PM

Updated 28 days ago

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City Council members Yusef Salaam and Erik Bottcher have introduced a bill to station social workers in every NYPD precinct across New York City. They argue that this move would alleviate pressure on officers and provide direct support to those in need.
“It’s a bill that seeks to bridge the gap between law enforcement and social services,” said Council Member Yusef Salaam.
The proposal, dubbed a win-win by its proponents, aims to address longstanding challenges faced by police precincts in handling social and emotional issues beyond their expertise.
“For far too long, our police precincts have shouldered the burden of addressing social and emotional needs beyond their scope,” Salaam emphasized.
"Think of moments where individuals struggling with substance abuse are met not with brutality but with support, where a social worker conducts a thorough assessment, develops a treatment plan and facilitates access to programs," Salaam added.
The bill calls for the deployment of trained social workers in all 77 precincts across the boroughs. Erik Bottcher clarified, “These are people placed by the Department of Health, they’re not the NYPD.”
Bottcher acknowledged the existing demand for social workers in the city, hinting at reservations within the Department of Health. However, he emphasized the importance of prioritizing efforts.
“I don’t think that should stop us from pursuing policies that would make New Yorkers safer. I think efforts should be laser-focused on recruiting social workers and fulfilling those positions,” said Bottcher.
News 12 New York reached out to the NYPD and the mayor's office but did not hear back at the time of reporting. Civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel estimated the cost of the initiative to be approximately $20 million. He believes this investment would ultimately save the city money.
“Legal Aid put out a statement recently that last year’s fiscal budget we spent as taxpayers $115 million on police misconduct cases. You make this a reality, that $115 million will slowly decrease,” Siegel explained.


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