FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fayetteville Police Department is adding two full-time social workers to its staff.

Fayetteville City Council members voted to approve a $250,000 Department of Justice grant that will pay for the positions.

Each social worker will be paired with a dedicated crisis intervention team officer. Together they will respond to crisis calls which could be anything from homelessness, to substance abuse, to welfare concerns.

“If we can get these people support services so that they’re not having to interact with the police in the first place that is a huge win for everybody involved,” Lt. Tim Shepard said.

The grant covers 2 years, and the police department hopes to fill the new positions this spring.

The program operates as an internship with the University of Arkansas that launched in spring of 2020.