Profile Of A Cop Who Welcomes The “Social Worker” Tag


Hillsboro, Or., police officer Mike Thompson is turning a new page in a by-the-book profession, reports The Oregonian. He easily approaches mentally ill subjects as well as grieving families, and believes in using compassion over coercion and brains over brawn — an approach born of experience and trauma, both personal and professional. “We’re social workers, come on,” says Thompson, a member of the Hillsboro Police Department’s Traumatic Response Support Team. “We are problem solvers — with a great deal of power.”

Thompson, 48, was hired by Hillsboro later in life, after 23 years as a car parts manager. He’s the kind of outside hire more police departments would like to have but can’t afford to train on tight public dollars. Seven of 115 Hillsboro officers had nonpolice careers before being hired. “All of the guys we are talking about are very gifted at being able to talk to people,” says Lt. Michael Rouches. “I think they learned another perspective from being in another job. They are people first.” Thompson revels in going from call to call, never knowing what’s next. “I love the excitement. I love the fact that every day is different,” he says. “I know I am not going to change the world. I’m resigned to that. But I can make a difference in some people’s lives.”


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