SALT LAKE CITY — On January 22, 2020, the Commissioners for the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice (Commission) were sworn in by Attorney General William Barr at the U.S. Department of Justice. The Commission has the responsibility of addressing a number of critical issues facing our law enforcement professionals and other criminal justice components, including technology, juvenile delinquency and youth crime, respect for law enforcement, social problems impacting public safety, and police officer health.
SLCPD Police Chief Mike Brown was appointed to the Homelessness Working Group for the Social Problems Impacting Public Safety Committee and asked specifically to speak about how SLCPD integrated social workers and crisis intervention officers.
“The SLCPD Community Connection Center filled the gap between social services and law enforcement,” said Chief Brown. “We brought in licensed social workers and case managers to provide consistent and compassionate outreach to those experiencing homelessness. They offered diversion options, advocacy, and services, among other things, to provide an alternative to the justice system.”
Chief Brown will provide testimony to the Commission members about the CCC’s successes, challenges, best practices, and how the model has adapted to the changing landscape of Salt Lake City’s Homeless Resource Centers.
In 2011, the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) created its Homeless Outreach Services Team, an innovative program developed in collaboration with homeless service provides to disrupt the cycle and address the underlying causes of homelessness. Since the HOST program’s inception, SLCPD has continued to innovate and expand service and collaboration in support of vulnerable populations.
In 2016, SLCPD opened the Community Connection Center (CCC), a joint effort of specially trained police officers and social workers, who provide a safe environment for individuals experiencing homelessness or a mental health crisis to access individualized care, support, and appropriate community services. The CCC houses three teams that work together – Community Connection Team (social workers), Homeless Outreach Service Team (HOST police officers), and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT police officers). The center is also located right across the street from one of the city’s largest homeless resource centers. Department social workers support the officers in making connections with individuals in the community to build rapport in hopes of connecting them to services or treatment.
The next Commission meeting on Mar. 19 will focus on the critical topic of social problems impacting public safety, and specifically will focus on homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse. More information can be found here:
The President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice is currently accepting written statements through May 31, 2020 at 5:00 PM EST.