FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Fayetteville Police Department is stepping up its game to address health crises.
The department is teaming up with students in U of A’s Social Work Master’s Program to better respond to calls involving mental illness, suicide and homelessness.
“I think what I hope ultimately is that we provide the service that’s needed to the community and that we’re not criminalizing behavior that was never intended to be criminal in nature,” said Police Chief, Mike Reynolds.
Chief Reynolds said on a yearly basis, the police department receives up to 2,000 calls for situations beyond what they are equipped to do.
“Often times, the crimes that are being committed are crimes that could be addressed if they are receiving mental health services or if they even knew what resources were available in the community around them,” said Steven Greathouse, a student in the social works program.
He will be working with the department to address those needs.
Chief Reynolds said Greathouse will mostly be responding second hand- after officers have evaluated the situation.
“This is not just folks that are battling those illnesses, this is folks that have been victimized by crimes,” Chief Reynolds said.
This gives Greathouse a greater desire than ever to help use his talents to serve Fayetteville.
“I think it’s very clear that the Fayetteville Police Department is an agency that cares about its community.”