Where are the social workers when you need one?
Here is one idea on a place for police executives to look for ready recruits: social workers and people studying social work. It may take a few years to break down stereotypes social work folks have of police (and police have of social workers) but it would be worth it for the quality of the recruits.
A few years ago when Harry Spence ran MA’s Department of Social Services (DSS) I sat on panel at a DSS training conference. That’s where the thought first struck. I looked over a sea of bright, dedicated, idealistic public servants — the majority female — and thought about the kinds of moral and physical courage they had to possess or find to go where they must go and do what they must do.
Like the police, social workers are asked to do triage in cases for which complicated is a euphemism. (For all that people knock the DSS’s of the world, think of all the children they protected into adolescence or young adulthood). Like the police, they manage people in their worst moments.
Do we want dedicated, tough people who are also values-guided, idealistic and compassionate? Let’s get some good social workers.