Regarding “I have to answer to God,” Sept. 3, Page 24:

Thank you for the article about Officer Carlos Ibarra and how his faith has improved his policing. One comment that made me sad was his comparing the work he does to that of a social worker.

I am a social worker and believe the work he does could not be further from my own. Yes, occasionally the police help connect people to resources. That’s where the similarities end.

I don’t carry a weapon, and am forced to deescalate mental health situations.

We social workers also don’t carry the trauma that an officer does into many communities. Police officers can arrest people and create criminal records, but not social workers. Social workers help people through their possible crimes (addictions, theft, prostitution) without creating a permanent record that would damage that individual’s future.

Social work requires a lot more training in these areas than what police receive. We should allocate funds so officers stop trying to be social workers and instead let people trained to handle these situations get paid to do so.

Emily Waldron

Southeast Portland