Last Thursday (September 14), Scott County social worker Katie Pierson was honored by the Minnesota Sheriffs Association Jail Administrators as “Jail Support Person of the Year.” Pierson, the Coordinated Responder in the jail, “works tirelessly to advocate and provide resources to anyone in custody. She has immense passion for helping incarcerated individuals in need, with the goal to ensure basic needs are met upon release,” said Adult Mental Health Supervisor Amber Barnes.
A partnership among Scott County Social Services, the Sheriff’s Office, and Savage and Shakopee Police Departments, the Coordinated Response Program utilizes social workers who are trained in engagement, de-escalation, and resource connection. Following a referral from law enforcement, a social worker provides outreach to and engagement with citizens who are residing in the Scott County jail or who have been involved in a law enforcement call in the designated partner areas.
The goal of this work is to resolve crises in the community, connect residents with available services, and to build partnerships with and support law enforcement. According to Barnes, Pierson primarily provides support and resources on mental health, chemical health, housing, financial support, and employment, “… but is willing to get creative to reduce as many barriers as possible.”
Scott County Sheriff Luke Hennen was more than happy to join the chorus of appreciation for Pierson’s work, noting that “Katie is an unsung hero in our community -- a dedicated social worker with a genuine commitment to helping those who are incarcerated get their lives back on track. Her dedication and compassion have touched the lives of many, making a real difference where it's needed most.”
Photo, L – R: Chief Deputy Adam Pirri, Assistant Jail Administrator Caleb Madden, Social Work Supervisor Amber Barnes, Coordinated Responder Katie Pierson, Sheriff Luke Hennen, Sgt. Kent Anderson, Sgt. Anna Galvez.
For more information on the Scott County Coordinated Response Program, visit the last issue of the Scott County SCENE.