Social workers speak out against Buffalo mayor’s plan to pair them with police officers

State News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Social workers in Buffalo are speaking out against the mayor’s plan to pair them with police officers.

They rallied Thursday night in front of Buffalo City Hall.

The social workers say the city’s plan to have social workers respond to mental health calls with police puts them in an unfair position.

“This proposed plan is putting social workers in the position of having to simultaneously calm and attend to people experiencing mental health concerns, while also having to de-escalate the police,” one of the speakers said. “That is way too much pressure to put one one person who is already taxed.”

Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement that it’s clear there is a place for cooperation between social workers and police officers.

The mayor says in many cases, social workers call on police to help them during mental health calls.

Brown says this joint approach was even endorsed by the National Association of Social Workers in June.

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