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Waco Police Department & Prosper Waco partner to bridge social work & law enforcement

Waco Police Department
Posted at 9:13 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 07:56:15-05

WACO, Texas — The Waco Police Department is working with a local non-profit to get struggling community members the help they need, not just from officers.

Prosper Waco social resource coordinator DeAngela Bynum began working with the department this summer. She helps fill the gaps that patrol officers don't have the time or resources for.

"They say, 'We're worried about this person,' then I am able to assess them, so just ask them some questions and find out what they need," Bynum said.

The collaboration started with a grant to Prosper Waco, an organization dedicated to improving education, health, and financial stability in the city. Partnering with the police department is one of the many ways they hope to do that.

The police department receives more than 1,100 dispatch calls every day. Of those, over 100 per month are calls related to suicide attempts.

"Officers can do all they can to respond to a suicide call, but in the end, they need that extra help, they need the help the day after and the day after that and the week after that," said Waco Police Department public information officer, Cierra Shipley.

Whether it's a need for mental health help or help to locate housing, Bynum works one-on-one with community members and community organizations to connect people to the resources they need.

Prosper Waco said the need for this kind of community assistance is already proving to be larger than anticipated.

"The more that we can work better together and help identify some of these pockets of places where they need follow-up or extra support, I think that's just gonna expand our work even more," Telawna Kirbie, director of behavioral health for Prosper Waco said.

Both Prosper Waco and Waco PD hope to expand the program to be able to assist more community members in the coming years, but what that will look like isn't clear just yet.