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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Focus on Safety – Social services for ‘A Safer Naper’


The Naperville Police Department understands that the well-being of our city depends on how safe we keep our community. This is precisely why NPD partners with businesses, government agencies, community organizations, schools and residents – to make, and keep, Naperville ‘a Safer Naper.’ One such partnership is our in-house Social Services Unit.

Recognizing early on that some incidents reported to our agency required more than the involvement of police officers, the Naperville Police Department has had social services professionals on staff for more than two decades. As an important component of community policing, these social workers provide professional insight into effective strategies for managing certain cases, such as mental health and drug addiction, domestic violence, and homelessness. They work directly with individuals and families within the community offering crisis intervention by helping identify problems, examine options, and create safety plans. By having the resources of a Social Service Unit, NPD has been able to provide a comprehensive level of service that the residents of Naperville deserve.

Over time, we have been fortunate to add to our social services team and currently have three, full-time Masters level, licensed social workers/counselors on shift working with officers and detectives. In addition to their overall skills and knowledge, all three have specialized concentrations that help address the needs of community. Their areas of expertise include substance abuse and addiction, mental health, domestic violence, and more.

An additional benefit to having a social services team at the police department is the connections to the community it brings. Our team collaborates with outside groups (medical, religious, nonprofit, etc.) to help deliver even more services to our community. Through these connections, NPD is stronger and better able to support the residents of Naperville. After all, the absence of crime is not the final goal of law enforcement. Rather, it is the promotion and protection of public safety while respecting the dignity and rights of all.

Meet each of our social workers and learn a little more about our plans to expand our social services unit in 2021 at www.naperville.il.us/asafernaper.

Until next month… Stay aware & Stay safe!

Julie Smith
Julie Smith
Julie Smith is Crime Prevention Specialist at the Naperville Police Department. Contact her at SmithJu@naperville.il.us or (630) 305-5450.


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