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‘Visionary work’ | Racine County on Track to Add More Violent Crime and Mental Health Staff | Local News

YORKVILLE — Racine County is on track to add more staff to its team to address violent crime and mental health issues.

The finance and human resources committee and the health and human development committee, in a joint meeting on Wednesday, unanimously approved a joint resolution to send the idea of ​​creating an equivalent coordinator full time for violent crime reduction on county council. This new position will be a project of the association Voices of Black Mothers United.

Sylvia Bennett-Stone is director of the Voices of Black Mothers United national initiative. She is pictured speaking at a prayer vigil held in honor of Brittany Booker, a Racine mother of six who was killed on April 24.

Alex Rodriguez

Hope Otto, County Social Services Director


The county council’s first reading is scheduled for its July 12 meeting; a second reading and final approval are to be set for a later date. A national representative of Voices of United Black Mothers will likely make a presentation on the subject at the first reading for the county council, said Hope Otto, director of social services.

A transfer of $79,727 in the 2022 social services budget would be made for this position.

The two committees also unanimously approved a joint resolution recommending that the county council create one full-time equivalent community crisis stabilization supervisor, four full-time equivalent community crisis stabilization provider masters, one Full-Time Equivalent Crisis Supervisor, three Equivalent Crisis Provider Professionals, two Full-Time Equivalent Crisis Provider Masters, and reclassification of one Full-Time Equivalent Non-Representative SAIL Coordinator to an Exempt Non-Representative SAIL Coordinator full-time equivalent starting July 30, and transferring $304,219 within the 2022 Social Services Budget. SAIL is a short-term crisis stabilization center for adult Racine County residents experiencing a mental health crisis.

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Nick Demske headshot


“You don’t want to declare victory, but I feel like this is visionary work the county is doing,” District 1 Supervisor Nick Demske said. “Traditionally, many places have viewed public safety as a law enforcement issue only, but it’s much more holistic than that. And I’m so glad this county is approaching it in a much more holistic way.

“I am happy to see that this initiative has been planned for a very long time and now is the time to have proper leadership including the Chief of Police and DA to assist with this initiative,” the supervisor said. from District 12, Don Trottier.

About work

The Violent Crime Reduction Coordinator would be able to respond to crime scenes when a person has been the victim of a violent crime, shooting or attempted shooting, regardless of the severity of the injuries .

The individual would have had an experience, having a loved one shoot themselves or commit suicide, so they are able to respond with the empathy and healing needed to be able to restore families, start the healing process and stop the retaliation, Otto said.

Portrait of Jonathan Delagrave


County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said after a violent situation, the victim’s family often wants to know immediately who committed the crime. After that, Voices of Black Mothers United will sit down with the family to talk about their lived experience and how they healed through forgiveness and acts of kindness.

The group can also help lift individuals out of poverty or other unfortunate situations, Otto said. Other street outreach initiatives and follow-up meetings with families are also planned.

“It’s really the lived experience of bridging relationships with law enforcement in the community and putting healing at the center of stopping the cycle of violence,” Otto said. “We’re constantly looking at cutting-edge things that are being done across the country, and this is one of them…I like to think that sometimes we’re the incubator for these kinds of strategies.”

Otto noted Credible messengers is something the county started and, a few years later, Milwaukee County was inspired to take on the idea.

These new positions are part of a continuum for the county’s Violent Crime Reduction Initiative. It’s a partnership between the Racine Police Department, the Racine County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney Patricia Hanson and the Social Services Branch, which focuses on programming, Otto said.

Otto said his board and Delagrave worked to resolve issues as they arose, and the county ended the past year in a “favorable fiscal position” so those positions could be created.

michelle goggins


Michelle Goggins, administrator of behavioral health services for the county, said there should be no problem with hiring; Social work students from local colleges who are required to do field placements may be good candidates for this position.

Over the past six months, her department has received more and more high-quality applicants, she said.

“We filled positions that had been vacant for over a year,” Goggins said.