KCPD seeks resources for increased social services program

Gina English began her Social Services Coordinator position at KCPD Central Patrol on December 1, 2016. On November 2, 2017, she spoke with media about how the program has grown in the past 11 months.

By Paul Thompson
Northeast News

Eleven months ago, Gina English walked into KCPD Central Patrol to begin her first day as the division’s Social Services Coordinator. English had been tapped to run an experimental pilot program by Central Patrol Major Rick Smith, who had been impressed with her performance while both were working with the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (NoVA).

It was the beginning of a nine-month pilot, and neither Smith nor English knew what would become of it. From the beginning, though, Smith had faith.

“Obviously, I wouldn’t be in this arrangement if I didn’t trust her. I know her pretty well,” Smith said at the time. “I think this has good potential. I’ve watched her talk to people before, and they’re just so much more open than with an officer in uniform.”

In the intervening 11 months, much has changed. Major Rick Smith became Kansas City’s Chief of Police in August. English’s pilot position was extended for another year in September. Now, Smith and English are working together to identify funding to install a Social Services Coordinator position at every patrol division.

On Thursday, November 2, English addressed the media about the future of the Social Services Coordinator program. She described her time as KCPD’s only Social Services Coordinator as a whirlwind ride.

Gina English speaks at KCPD HQ in Thursday, November 2.

“He took a chance on it. I’m very grateful,” English said. “Now to see him as Chief, and with the possibility and hope that he’ll be able to continue to support and grow this project department-wide, is pretty phenomenal. I never thought on the first of December that he would be sitting in the Chief’s position and we would have come this far.”

While English is working closely with Chief Smith’s office, she still calls the Central Patrol Division home.

“I still am working out of Central Patrol, but I am helping coordinate those efforts in identifying funding and putting together proposals, and just looking for opportunities to bring more funding into the community for this position,” English said.

On English’s first day in her new position, she spoke with the Northeast News about what her job might entail. She wanted to be proactive about developing a plan for handling the curfew at the Country Club Plaza, and to communicate regularly with the Jackson County Prosector’s Office to identify potential clients. She also expected to work with the Kansas City Crime Commission, which controls court-ordered community service in the city.

English has found success in the role, whether she was gathering information from teens at the Country Club Plaza, establishing a curfew diversion program, or helping to provide social services for homeless Kansas Citians who were removed from The Ridge homeless camp in March of 2017.

To his credit, Smith empowered English to tackle social issues as she saw fit throughout the city.

“There are a lot of departments nationwide that use social workers in house, but typically it is with a single focus,” English said. “Whether it’s crisis prevention or mental health or youth or violent crime or domestic violence or homelessness…we don’t want this to be a program that only focuses on this one specific thing.”

The next challenge? Expanding English’s role throughout the department.

“He’s been amazing in his support,” English said of Smith. “Now it’s a matter of, how do we grow it? How do we build on the successes that we’ve had in Central Patrol and take it department-wide?”

Comments are closed.

  • Northeast Newscast Episode 34 – the expansion of Healing House w/ Executive Director Bobbi Jo Reed

    November 17th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News This week on the Northeast Newscast, managing editor Paul Thompson sits down with Healing House […]


    ‘Revive the East Side’ legislation is heading to City Hall

    November 17th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News Sixth District KCMO Councilman Scott Taylor held a press conference at City Hall on Thursday, […]


    KCPS maintains provisional accreditation

    November 16th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) earned 89.5 of a possible 140 points in its 2017 […]


    Local Artist unveils Woodland Elementary School Mural

    November 16th, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News Historic Northeast is blessed to have world class artists living within the community, and on […]


    Block Watch Organizing 101

    November 15th, 2017
    by

    Heather Welch Special to Northeast News During a recent community meeting discussing the increased number of homicides in Historic Northeast, […]


  • Previously vandalized sculpture relocated to Scuola Vita Nuova

    November 14th, 2017
    by

    By Melissa Wharton Northeast News A sculpture that was vandalized at Independence Park Plaza in August has found a new […]


    Shooting on Independence Avenue

    November 13th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News Police responded to a non-lethal shooting near the intersection of Independence Avenue and Denver on […]


    Northeast Newscast Episode 33 – the violent crime episode

    November 10th, 2017
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News This week on the Northeast Newscast, Managing Editor Paul Thompson dives into the violent crime […]


    Community forum to discuss food’s relation to race, gender and economy

    November 10th, 2017
    by

    By Melissa Wharton Northeast News Stakeholders in the local food movement in Kansas City, Missouri are holding a forum with […]


    Triple homicide in the Blue Valley Area

    November 10th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News At approximately 10 am this morning officers were called to the 4900 block of E. 17th street. Upon […]


  • What’s Happening

    CID: Northeast Community Center & Children’s Memorial Lutheran Church

    The direction of history

      Last Friday night, this long-in-the-tooth newsdog had the honor and privilege of witnessing the future of history in this […]

    retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

  • Local Weather

  • [Advertisement.]