Bloomington Meadows Hospital (BMH) was honored to award the 2019 Joshua W. Paul Mental Health Ambassador Award to the Bloomington Police Department. Every year we honor Joshua W. Paul, a former member of our executive leadership team. Joshua strived to identify innovative and creative programs to help break down the barriers to mental health care and services in our community. Annually the employees of BMH nominate community partners from around state that magnify these ideas to help develop new programs and services that exemplify Joshua’s character.
The Bloomington Police Department is actively involved in helping engage citizens, waiting beside a patient in a time of crisis, and helping individuals find necessary care and resources. The Bloomington Police Department recently integrated a full-time Police Social Worker in an effort to better coordinate care for individuals with whom officers come into contact with in the city. The department is the first in the area to employ a full-time Police Social Worker and hopes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided to those in need. With the increase in calls for service where officers are interacting with those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorder, the Police Social Worker provides a vital resource to the department. The Police Social Worker integrates with the Downtown Resource Officers, a program that began in 2014 that is comprised of specially trained officers who respond to calls involving those experiencing homelessness and mental illness.
The Bloomington Police Department participates in numerous community outreach events such as Coffee with a Cop, National Night Out, Touch a Truck, Teen Academy and Citizen’s Academy. These events are designed to teach the community about how the police department functions and to foster a strong, trusting relationship between members of the community and police officers. In 2016, the Department created a LGBTQ Police Liaison Unit to focus on improving communication and interaction between these members of the community and the Department.
Thank you Bloomington Police Department for all of your hard work and dedication to the city of Bloomington!