New Yorkers might see police officers and social workers teamed up on patrol if criminologist and NYPD consultant George Kelling’s vision becomes reality, reports AM New York. Kelling, famous for developing the “Broken Windows” theory of policing, was hired by Police Commissioner William Bratton make suggestions to improve the city’s safety. After many late-night subway ride-alongs with officers, Kelling, 78, concluded that people suffering from substance abuse or mental health issues can be better helped by a police-social worker partnership.
“There should be more than arrests or a shelter for these people,” Kelling said. He suggested that teams of officers and a social worker could visit areas of the subway known to attract the mentally disturbed and substance abusers. He added, “And you may need to go again and again.” Using social workers to help troubled people is not a new idea. Similar tactics have been tried in other cities, including Rochester and several Chicago suburbs. But those programs did not involve officers and social workers on patrol together.