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Merrillville Police Department looking to add social worker

Northwest Indiana Photos website

The town of Merrillville is the latest community looking to add a social worker to its police department.

Town Council President Rick Bella has begun looking into funding options, including grants and partnerships, according to a town press release. Police Chief Kosta Nuses hopes the new social worker would complement officers' existing work, specifically in situations involving mental health crises, substance abuse and homelessness.

Merrillville officials are pointing to positive outcomes in neighboring Griffith, where Police Chief Greg Mance says the social work program has connected individuals with mental health resources and social services — and helped lower recidivism rates.