The McHenry Police Department announced they have hired their first-ever social services coordinator, who will help people in crisis and victims of crime. He will eventually work alongside a comfort dog.
McHenry Police Department Chief John Birk said on Wednesday that the department hired Jason Sterwerf.
Some of Sterwerf’s responsibilities will include providing residents with social service referrals, crisis intervention and following up with victims of crime.
He will oversee the police department’s peer support program, debrief with staff following critical incidents and eventually be the handler of a comfort dog.
“For years the McHenry Police Department has recognized that not all problems in our community can be resolved simply by using what were considered “traditional” law enforcement practices,” Birk said.
“The department has been proactive in working with the social service agencies within and around McHenry County to provide possible long-term solutions to community quality of life issues derived from mental health disorders and behavior health conditions,” he added.
The addition of Sterwerf, a licensed clinical professional counselor, is a “giant step forward in continuing to provide our community with the very best services possible,” the police department said.
Sterwerf received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Roosevelt University and then obtained his Master of Science in Community Counseling from National Louis University.
Prior to joining the police department, Sterwerf was the Director of the Office of Special Projects for the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Court.
That office administers, coordinates and monitors the adult drug court, DUI court, mental health court and domestic violence court programs.
Sterwerf is also a staff clinician with the Tabor Therapy Group in McHenry and a faculty member of the National Drug Court Institute.
“The McHenry Police Department is excited to have Jason join its team and working to build this program. His knowledge, skills, abilities, and personality are incredible assets to what the police department and the City of McHenry can provide for its residents,” the department said in a statement.