Police officers put their lives on the line everyday just to keep everyday people safe, but one officer is going above and beyond to really improve everyone’s experience throughout his community.
“He was the perfect fit for this job,” says Chief Billy Bolin, Evansville Police Department.
As an Evansville Police Officer, Joshua Brewer has all the responsibilities of any other in his department.
He protects and serves his community, but he also has a unique role; a first of his kind in the Tri-State.
“I’m there to learn who they are, get to know them, build that relationship, build that rapport, you know develop that trust,” says Officer Josh Brewer, Evansville Police Department.
A year ago, EPD decided to find a solution to help combat homelessness in the River City.
“Officers would get runs on them all the time, but their daily going on all the other runs, there really wasn’t any effort to try and figure out what the problem was, the root cause, to see if there was anything we could do to help,” says Chief Bolin.
That’s when Brewer was hired as the first homeless liaison officer.
“It was definitely something up my alley, something I was passionate for,” says Brewer. “I become a police man because I’m passionate about working with people, especially with those who are the most vulnerable in our population.”
For issues that may have been resolved by arrests in the past, Officer Brewer now helps connect people to needed mental health or substance abuse services.
Some of his days are spent with local outreach teams.
“Usually our days start at 6 in the morning and we can find individuals sleeping in alleys, sleeping in cars, in parking lots,” says Brewer.
“They say he’s one of the nicest cops I’ve ever spoken to,” says Phillip Boyd, Evansville Rescue Mission Director.
Boyd says the men he sees on a daily basis get to know Officer Brewer personally.
“He is on the streets doing the outreach work, going to the meetings with us to collaborate and advocate on the behalf of struggling populations and those experiencing homelessness,” says Boyd.
A relationship that has made the biggest difference in the city.
“They have their preconceived notions of what police officers are, what their role is, and how they are going to treat them, and how they are going to approach them,” says Boyd. “And I think that Josh is doing a great job of breaking down those barriers.”
And while policing is never an easy job, it’s through his kindness and compassion that make Officer Josh Brewer this week’s Hometown Hero.
“We all have that ability and opportunity to help somebody,” says Brewer.