Cops, Courts and Fire Government

Co-Responder Program To Launch In Newtown Area

The program is funded by the county for the first two years.

File photo.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

A social worker may soon be assisting police officers in Newtown Borough, Newtown Township, and Upper Makefield Township.

Both Newtown Borough and Newtown Township officials have approved a memorandum of understanding with Bucks County Human Services Division to introduce a co-responder to the area.

The co-responder, who will also work out of the Newtown Ambulance Squad, will have their salary covered by the county for the first two years. After that, the municipalities will assume responsibility for the co-responder’s salary, officials said.

Last month, Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia and county official Ivone Kovalsky addressed the Newtown Borough Council to garner support for the program.

Launched in 2020 with bipartisan support from Bucks County Commissioners and county law enforcement agencies, the co-responder program pairs county social workers, called co-responders, with police departments. The co-responders assist by joining police on some calls and handling follow-up requests to aid with mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and aging issues. Equipped with county cars and protective gear, the social workers connect individuals in crisis with relevant resources, allowing police officers to focus more on law enforcement duties.

“Every time we expand our co-responder program, it is a reminder how important the county’s partnership is with law enforcement,” said Rachael Neff, director of human services. “Because of this partnership, we are helping more of our community members in need. I am proud to work alongside such a talented co-responder team.” 

The county’s newest co-responder, who started last month, covers Lower Makefield Township, Morrisville Borough, and Yardley Borough.

Over the program’s first four years, co-responders have assisted more than 1,650 people through approximately 6,500 contacts, according to county data.

In 2023, police, county officials, and co-responders spoke of the program’s successes.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.