LANCASTER, Pa (WHTM) — Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace has said she wants more progressive policing.
Now the city is taking another step toward that.
The Lancaster Bureau of Police has hired their second social worker.
Grace Menzter, a Lancaster native, will fill that role.
“It’s always been an interest of mine and a passion to help others,” Mentzer told abc27 News. “I hope that people will feel comfortable speaking with me just to know this is a safe place for them to discuss whatever traumatic experience they are going through.”
The social worker role in the police department does not respond in place of police to crime-related calls, but they are tasked with helping solve problems like mental illness, drug addiction, and homelessness.
Since the city hired their first social worker a little more than a year ago calls involving mental health issues took center stage and the workload has been almost overwhelming.
“This is something the community wanted,” Sgt. Donald Morant with the Lancaster Bureau of Police, said. “And the Mayor’s office and police department listened to those requests. One of the requests was can we hire a second social worker? We made that a top priority.”
Mentzer will work at night, which means the police department will have a social worker on at almost all hours of the day during the week.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize how much social work is involved in law enforcement,” Menzter added. “It’s all about having that open communication and how you can help the person.”