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RPD Launches Community Support Unit

Post Date:01/08/2024 1:02 PM

Radnor Township announces the launch of a new Community Support Unit as recommended by Superintendent of Police, Christopher B. Flanagan, and with approval from the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners.

The Community Support Unit (CSU) aims to enhance police services in Radnor Township with a strong emphasis on victim services and response to mental health emergencies. Among these duties, a (1) Licensed Social Worker, (4) officers and (1) sergeant will respond immediately to mental health emergencies and follow up on victims of crimes post incident. The Unit will also be available for response to calls in high density areas to supplement the Patrol Division.

“We know that building a safer Radnor Township means approaching mental health, trauma and crime from every possible angle,” Superintendent Flanagan, said. “The CSU combines the necessary skills of police with the specialized training of a civilian social worker to address the root causes of mental health challenges, addiction issues and crime compassionately and safely. This is supported by data and by what law enforcement officers on the ground are telling us about the incidents they’re addressing.”

Superintendent Flanagan said the CSU is a co-responder unit aimed to improve service to the community and go behind the initial call for service.

“By collaborating with Township stakeholders, including business owners, local schools, and houses of worship, we can navigate challenges facing the community through non-traditional means,” said Superintendent Flanagan. “Establishing meaningful relationships can very well reduce, if not prevent crime from occurring.”

The CSU will be supervised by Sergeant Daniel V. Lunger, a second-generation Radnor Township Police Officer and 17-year veteran of the Department. Sgt. Lunger will oversee (4) officers who have received prior training in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), and De-Escalation Techniques among other specific training, and Police Social Worker Isabel Cook (LSW), the newest civilian member of the CSU.

“In terms of mental health services, one of the CSU’s goals is to have our social worker, Isabel Cook, attend calls alongside a police officer with the hopes that Isabel will provide more options for police officers and for someone who may be dealing with mental health issues,” Lunger said.

Having a social worker in-house provides Radnor Township Police Department with access to that social worker’s expertise not only to deal with community members in crisis but also to help improve officer mental well-being.

“As Isabel gains the trust of sworn officers when responding to calls for service in the community, it is our hope those same officers will turn to Isabel for assistance with their own emotional well-being, as well as other non-work-related problems,” said Moira Mulroney, Commissioner Ward 5 & Board of Commissioners Vice President.

Also included in the CSU are (2) high-density beat officers responsible for increasing visibility and improving response times throughout the Township by providing additional, dedicated daytime coverage to the Route 30 corridor, an area that has shown to produce higher incident rates throughout the day.

The Township’s 2024 budget includes $1 million per year to fund the CSU.

“This is the first time in a number of years that we have seen an expansion in service offerings with a team of 4 police officers, a sergeant and a social worker,” said William M. White, Township Manager. “The Community Support Unit will be funded through a combination of new real estate taxes approved by the Board of Commissioners, along with business tax proceeds, interest revenue, and departmental revenue.”

The CSU has hit the ground running with over 100 calls since it launched in October 2024. So far, the calls are mainly relating to juvenile issues, domestic violence, and substance abuse.

“This is one of those changes in policing we will continue to see grow because of the national attention around police response to mental crisis calls,” said Superintendent Flanagan. “This adaptive Unit is now able to meet those challenges head on at the immediate time there is an emergency. For us here at Radnor Township Police Department, it’s an honor to offer this level of personalized service to our community.”

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