KANE COUNTY - In 2020, the Kane County Sheriff’s Office hired Nicole Krupp, one of the state's first social workers to be embedded in a police department.
Krupp has assisted in serious crimes against minors, seniors, and domestic violence and sex crime victims.
The program has been so successful, the Kane County Sheriff's Office is in the process of hiring another social worker.
Krupp is on call 24/7 with the Kane County Sheriff's Office to assist crime victims alongside deputies.
"Let's say we encounter a victim who is not comfortable around the police. My hope is that I can make them feel comfortable enough to feel that they can rely not just on myself but them too," Krupp said.
In the past, like most departments, the county contracted with third-party social work agencies. The department and deputies have found this approach to be much more affective.
"For them to know that when they walk away from a situation, a scene, a traumatic event, that there is that follow-up care with this very credible professional. It gives them a great deal of peace of mind in the work that they do," said Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain.
In one case, bodycam footage captures Krupp encouraging a young woman to get mental health treatment.
"Seventeen years old, numerous text messages saying she doesn't want to be alive anymore and that she wanted to kill herself," Krupp says in the video.
In another case, she assists a victim in filling out an order of protection.
She also works with children.
No day is ever the same.
"If it is a sex assault case...I'd respond with the officers to the hospital they may be receiving a sex assault kit, I will go with them. I was just working one of these cases and was with the female victim in the hospital room the entire time that she went through her evidence kit just to provide that emotional support, she didn't have any family," Krupp said.
Since late last year, Krupp has assisted with more than 130 cases.
The sheriff says having a social worker on staff has cut down on repeated calls for service at the same homes because Krupp is able to work with the victims to end the cycle of violence or need for a police response.
"I think me being there makes them feel as if they have more of an emotional safety net," according to Krupp.