New role in police department is meant to be a bridge to social services

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Leilany Tran is still settling into her desk at the Lancaster Bureau of Police.

Tran is one of the few people who doesn’t wear a badge, but that doesn’t diminish her importance. She is the only social worker employed by a police department in Lancaster County.

Her job is to follow up on emergency calls and be a bridge to services, find individual problems like homelessness, or addiction and get help.

“If that’s shelter or assistance completing a medical assistance application, or [help finding] a clothing bank and food vouchers, those kinds of things I can help navigate through the city of Lancaster,” Tran said.

Lancaster police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser said a majority of calls to the department don’t require police. He believes those calls are better handled by a social worker.

He said having Tran on staff can help officers who sometimes feel helpless when trying to help those in need.

“In the long term, I think it’s even going to help with our officer’s own emotional health knowing that we have this resource and they can forward someone to Leilany to try and get them to the services they need,” he said.

“I hope that when people see me or see me calling, they get a sense of good, here is someone that is going to help’,” Tran said.

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