Thursday, December 10, 2015

From the desk of Colleen Smith
NCS Clinical Coordinator


When people ask me about my role at Newark Community Solutions, I tell them I am charged with helping people seek the resources they need to reach their goals- get a job, kick a drug habit, seek treatment for a deepening depression and, of course, stay out of jail.  So when my clients run into walls, I feel like I do too.  Last Friday, I felt like my clients and I faced a new wall at every turn.

Need shelter?  No beds.  Emergency assistance?  No proof of ID.  Mental health treatment?  No insurance.  By the end of the day, I was exhausted and left wondering about our impact on a population with so many challenges.

But later that evening, my phone rang.  It was a Newark police officer telling me he found a man “talking outside his head.”  The officer found Newark Community Solutions paperwork on the man so he gave me a call for more information.   I was able to give the officer a bit of background, an emergency contact number, and an address.  He brought our client to the hospital for further evaluation and was able to notify his family.   

This officer’s actions epitomize community policing.  Furthermore, he was able to use a court-based program to respond effectively and compassionately to a citizen in need.  After a day of hitting walls this officer reminded me that when we work together we can open a lot of doors.  

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