De Pere Police adding social worker position

Hotel voucher program also added by department

DE PERE – The De Pere Police Department is adding a new position to its ranks this spring to better help those coping with crisis and experiencing mental health issues in our community. This position will be the department’s first-ever Police Social Worker (PSW). The De Pere Common Council approved adding this role to the department at its meeting last Wednesday, February 17.

The Police Social Worker (PSW) will be frequently utilized as a supplement to - and as a follow-up to - calls De Pere police officers respond to regularly. Many of the calls officers respond to involved the need for social services resources to address drug or alcohol dependency, victims, juvenile and adult protective services, well-being and mental health.  Although officers do a good job of offering services and attempting to provide mental health counseling, it is not their primary function. Follow-up to those situations is sometimes minimal.

Thus, the services offered or mental health issues that have been identified don’t get critically needed attention. The PSW’s primary mission would be to follow up on police calls where social services needs have been identified. Often the same assistance offered by a person not in uniform will get better results, but offering services and assistance is different from following up with it, and that is where the PSW would excel. Phone calls, text, and personal visits will be employed to reach those in need.

Further, the PSW will also become a liaison between the community and the department by attending certain community meetings, collaborating on community issues with partners and assisting with officer wellness and officer training.

“We often receive calls where, I think to myself, we could probably use someone to follow-up with these individuals. That’s where this position will make a key difference for us,” De Pere Police Chief Derek Beiderwieden said. “Sometimes, for those struggling, it just takes talking to somebody and to listen and figure out their life a little, to get them on the right path. Frankly, sometimes police officers don’t have the time to do that. I view this position as an enormous asset for the well-being of our community.”

Chief Beiderwiden said the PSW position aims to address long-term needs throughout the community, including assisting people experiencing mental illness, homelessness, physical abuse, substance abuse, and providing important resources and services.

For those interested in applying for this position, please keep an eye out on the “Jobs” section of, and follow De Pere Police’s social media accounts for updates.

This position also comes in addition to De Pere Police's other recent effort to institute new, innovative ways to reach out and help those silently struggling in our region. Recently, De Pere police created a hotel voucher program for those in emergency situations, with no place else to go for an evening. This can aid in everything from temporary homelessness to a stranded motorist to someone caught in a disturbance where they needed to be separated from a group or individual and otherwise have nowhere else to go.  

The program is funded through donations and drug money forfeitures.