Kitsap local Jamie Young joins the Poulsbo Police Department as its newest navigator.
Young has been on the job for about a month, and before that Poulsbo shared a navigator with the Bainbridge Island Police Department.
Navigators often have backgrounds in social services. They work with law enforcement and people they come in contact with who may be struggling with behavioral health, mental health, addiction, abuse and/or sexual assault issues and need someone to connect them to resources.
“Kitsap County is my home, and I am super passionate about making sure that the people in my community are receiving services that they need, which is why I got into social work,” Young said.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Western Washington University in Bellingham and earned her master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington. She has worked for the Department of Children, Youth and Families, Child Protective Services and in the foster care system.
It was her work with CPS that brought about her interest in being a navigator.
“While working with CPS I worked on and off with law enforcement and had talked to the navigators a couple of times and really liked the aspect of they were helping law enforcement connect individuals in the community with services and kind of bridging that gap, and that’s what drew me to it,” Young said.
While Young’s background provides a good foundation for her new role, she will have to go through some of the same classes that law enforcement goes through, such as 40 hours of Crisis Intervention Training, before she can accept active cases. However, that training must be done through the Criminal Justice Training Center, which is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the meantime, she has been getting to know some of the people and resources in the county that may be useful to those in need.
“Really what I have been doing is connecting with community partners, lots and lots of meetings, just to get out there and find out what and how we can bridge the gap between law enforcement and our services providers in the community,” Young said.
Young was then asked about cross-training with officers.
“Educations and training is never a bad thing. More is always better. But law enforcement got into law enforcement to be law enforcement officers, not to be social workers. I did not get into social work to become a police officer,” she said. “ I think it is good to have mental health components built into police departments, especially as there is a growing need for it.”