Lone social worker quits Lansing Police Department

Bidwell announces resignation from ‘hard job’ on Facebook

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(This story was updated to include additional information at 9:19 a.m.)

FRIDAY, Jan. 7 — The Lansing Police Department will soon be searching for a new social worker after Jan Bidwell, the first and only person to have served in the role for the city, called it quits this week after about three years — reportedly because of health issues exacerbated by the job.

Bidwell announced her resignation yesterday evening in a Facebook post:

“It was a hard decision, but necessary,” Bidwell wrote, later adding in a comment that “the job was so much harder than I could ever explain.” She also noted: “Impacted cardiac stuff finally.”

She also added: “It was a hard job, very uplifting in so many ways, but took its toll.”

Lansing became the first city in the state to embed a social worker directly into the ranks of its Police Department when it hired Bidwell in March 2019. It was her job to “function as a bridge” between the Police and the many agencies that work to serve those with cognitive disabilities, as well as those struggling with homelessness and substance abuse, according to the city website. The idea at the time was to allow officers to focus more exclusively on public safety rather than wrap-around services for local residents who needed help — not lights and sirens.

Mayor Andy Schor announced plans last year to hire a second social worker at LPD, though that person hasn’t started — meaning Bidwell’s resignation will create a gap in services.

A spokesman for Schor's office noted that a second social worker has been hired and will begin work "as soon as possible." A search for Bidwell's replacement is also underway. City officials said they "hope to move quickly."

“The social worker’s role begins where law enforcement ends,” according to a page on the Lansing Police Department’s website. “Having a social worker in the Police Department offers more extensive and innovative ways to help the Lansing community become stronger and more unified. All citizens deserve to get help when needed, and the social worker will work with the community to address the needs of those who might otherwise fall between the cracks.” 

Bidwell, a state licensed social worker, brought more than 40 years of experience to the job, along with a master’s degree in social work and seven years of postgraduate training. She has worked in cities across the country and once advised former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine on child abuse preventinon as a member of his transition team, according to the city website.

Bidwell also volunteered on the Ingham County Health Board and for the Ingham County Opioid Abuse Prevention Initiative. In her resignation announcement on Facebook yesterday, Bidwell also noted that she was “grateful for the profound experience of serving Lansing” since 2019.

“Everything is fine,” Bidwell commented. “Have some beautiful, non-traumatizing opportunities. The job was so much harder than I could ever explain. Impacted cardiac stuff finally.” 

Bidwell’s city-issued cell phone has been decommissioned. She didn’t respond to messages on Facebook yesterday or today. 

"Jan did not give any indication or reason as to why she was leaving her position," according to a statement from a city spokesman. "LPD knows that working in law enforement is a high-stress job and we make services available to assist all employees who need them."

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  • bobbyblue359

    Everything the left does turns to crap. We don't need social workers: we need complete institutions for mental heath, poverty, & drug abuse. What happened to all the mental institutions we used to have? Progressives got rid of them. What we have now is a void of chaos created by those who didn't like what we had, but had no workable solutions for what we need and yet took away what was the only thing that worked. How'd that defund the Police thing work out? Before tearing down something, get a working solution to replace it.

    Saturday, January 8 Report this

  • ChrisBrown

    Before verifying the causes of why de-insitutionalization began in roughly the 1960s and 70s in the first place, Bobby wants to immediately blame "the left" or "progressives." Intellectual laziness! It's likely due to a complex combination of a few factors, none of which can be exclusively blamed on the "right" or "Progressives." Some of the change was related to the invention of drugs used to manage symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia. Doctors realized they could keep patients at home with their families if their symptoms could be managed with drugs. I suppose the left is to blame for those scientific breakthroughs?

    What about local and regional governments shutting down large psychiatric sites, and accompanying land, that were then sold off at a profit to construction developers like in the late 70s in the Westland (Detroit area):

    "Today the land that once was Eloise has been developed into a strip mall, a golf course, and condominiums." Even wikipedia can tell you this without placing blame on the right or left!

    Before you say "Progressives did X, " check the facts, do a little research. Or if you can't be bothered to do that, then at least say nothing. Right wing talk show radio hosts propagate those kinds of ridiculous lies blame all things under the sun on the "vicious left," I guess (they do it regardless of the truth), but all this misinformation does is cause blame, division, and hatred. It's useful for keeping low information folks from thinking critically or wisely at all; information levels stay low.

    Also, how is having social workers embedded in police departments "defunding the police"?

    Sunday, January 16 Report this



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