Kansas City, Missouri Police Department personnel at East Patrol are intent on making inroads in their community, and they’re taking to the streets to make those connections.
East Patrol Division social worker Trena Miller will be teaming up with Community Interaction Officers Patrick Byrd and Greg Smith this week to pass out bottles of cold water and introduce KCPD’s social worker program to members of the community.
Miller, who was named the social worker at East Patrol Division in March, is hoping that her outreach efforts will help establish more contacts with the city’s transient population. As such, she has targeted areas where there have been reports of homeless camps and other large gatherings.
“I know one of them was I-70 and Sterling, 435 and Winner Rd…that’s where a lot of people hang out,” Miller said. “I do want to just do it kind of small to begin with; just go out and say hi to people.”
In January of 2018, KCPD identified the grant funding necessary to embed social workers at each of its six patrol divisions. Before that, social worker Gina English served at Central Patrol Division in a pilot program initiated by then-Major Rick Smith, now Chief of Police. The Hall Family Foundation pledged $640,000 towards the social worker program over the next three years, with the City of Kansas City, Missouri agreeing to pick up the remaining $470,000 necessary to employ the six social workers – and social services coordinator English – over that time frame.
The East Patrol outreach efforts will begin on Wednesday, July 11, though Miller expects it to become an ongoing initiative. She encourages any individuals or organizations who would like to help to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.