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Social workers to join MPD to help with mental health, addiction issues

Social workers to join MPD
Social workers to join MPD 01:54

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis police officers will soon be getting some new co-workers.

Hennepin County social workers are coming to the department to help with MPD's response to mental health and addiction issues.

Anthony Rauschendorfer plans to apply for the position.

"Having the opportunity to personally interact with a community member that needs assistance in any type of way is very important," he said.

Rauschendorfer has a Master's degree in social work and a law degree. He currently works with the University of St. Thomas's Community Justice Project.

"The big appeal for me [of being an embedded social worker] is having a healthy start to meaningful change," Rauschendorfer said. "The interdisciplinary approach to responding to the community is very important."

Earlier this month, the city council approved a program of embedding five social workers with MPD.

The county says the social workers will follow up at first with people experiencing mental health or addiction issues who officers encounter. The social workers will help connect those people with resources.

"This job seems to be kicking off this new program and really starting to understand the needs of the community and law enforcement and how they're interacting with the community," Rauschendorfer said.

Rauschendorfer says he'd love to be part of the 911 response.

The job description on the county's website says social workers will "respond when needed with law enforcement to calls in the community."

"It's a lot to ask each individual profession or group to address really complex needs," Rauschendorfer said. "Having more than one professional on board to try to support that is very important I think."

Hennepin County social workers are already embedded in more than a dozen suburban police departments.

For more information, click here.

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