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Porter County Sheriff's Office hiring social worker


The Porter County Sheriff's Office is looking to hire a social worker. The county council and commissioners have approved the creation of a police resources and outreach (PRO) coordinator position.

Sheriff Jeff Balon says that person will connect people to services that are beyond the traditional scope of police. "We're there to identify and connect this person to people that are in need of services for substance dependencies, mental health, homelessness. But it goes bigger than that, as well," Balon told the commissioners last week.

The PRO coordinator is expected to review police reports and look for individuals who may need follow-up services, like kids or older adults. There will also be crisis training and a wellness component for officers.

"What they say is the average person deals with five to six traumatic experiences in a lifetime, where public safety personnel deal with that in one month," Balon noted.

The county council voted Tuesday to fund the position with opioid settlement money. That includes a $60,000 salary, plus benefits. County officials believe there's enough settlement money to pay for the new social worker for 16 years.