Bloomington Police Department Receives Award from Meadows Hospital

(BLOOMINGTON) – The Bloomington Police Department was recently presented with the Joshua W. Paul Mental Health Ambassador Award by Bloomington Meadows Hospital.

BPD Deputy Chief Joe Qualters, Captain Ryan Pedigo and
Police Social Worker Melissa Stone accepting the award at the 13th Annual Bloomington
Meadows Hospital Brown County Conference.

The award is presented annually to an organization in Indiana that the staff at Meadows Hospital believes has gone above and beyond in providing new, innovative ways to assist individuals with access to mental health and addiction services.

According to Meadows Hospital, BPD was chosen to receive the award due to outreach efforts in which the Department attempts to engage citizens to foster a strong, trusting relationship and the ongoing efforts to help individuals find necessary care and resources.

Further, a release from Meadows Hospital stated, “The Bloomington Police Department recently integrated a full-time Police Social Worker in an effort to better coordinate care for individuals with whom officers come into contact within the City. The department is the first in the area to employ a full-time Police Social Worker and hopes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided to those in need. With the increase in
calls for service where officers are interacting with those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorder, the Police Social Worker provides a vital resource to the department.”

Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff

“We are truly honored to have received this award from an organization that does so much to help those experiencing mental illness in our community,” said Chief Mike Diekhoff. “We are committed to providing our officers with continuous training so they are better able to assist those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorder. Our Police Social Worker can provide follow-up support and ensure that the individuals our officers interact with are able to locate and secure appointments with mental health professionals as well as train our officers on things such as identifying and understanding mental illness. We strive to be the best-trained police department in the State and will continue our efforts to be just that.”