Minneapolis/ Community & Society
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Published on March 01, 2024
Coon Rapids Police Deploy Social Worker to Front Lines, Offer Drop-In Help at Local LibrarySource: City of Coon Rapids

In an innovative mash-up of policing and social work, Lori Halbur has become an integral part of the Coon Rapids Police Department (CRPD), bringing her expertise in mental health to the front lines since December 2022. Embedded within the department, Halbur accompanies officers on calls involving mental health crises, offering a blend of support and follow-up care that was traditionally outside the police scope. "Some days, I'll get in a squad with an officer and for a few hours drive around and just go to all the calls that they go on," Halbur told the Coon Rapids official website. Her role doesn't end when the sirens fade; she commits much of her time to reconnecting with those she's encountered, ensuring continued care.

Expanding her reach, Halbur's partnership with CRPD made its way to the local library. As part of a broader initiative to make social work more accessible, the Crooked Lake Branch of the Anoka County Library hosts her drop-in office hours. Visiting a library, which stands as a bastion of community and learning – social workers across the Twin Cities have long leveraged these spaces for outreach. This free program allows residents to engage with Halbur, seeking advice and resources. "Libraries have been a spot that social workers do outreach a lot, all over the Twin Cities," Halbur explained.

Known for not shying away from difficult topics, Halbur has made it her mission to address the myriad issues that people face. Whether it is navigating mental health challenges or assisting the elderly with their living arrangements, she offers support and links to needed resources. "I can do resources for mental health,” Halbur said. “I can provide resources for people that are aging and want to age in place or looking at possibly moving to a higher level of care."

Members of the Coon Rapids community can utilize her expertise during these uncertain times. Halbur is available for a candid chat or concrete assistance for those in need. Residents can connect with this dedicated social worker at the Crooked Lake Branch Library, located at 11440 Crooked Lake Boulevard, eager to tackle the community's issues, just show up between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the 4th Thursday of the month, per the official announcement. This program exemplifies commitment to community policing and the recognition that safety is not just the absence of crime, but the presence of support.