about us

About APSS

Purpose Statement

The APSS is a corporation established for the purpose of:

  • Providing a forum for networking among APSS members.
  • Promoting awareness of police social work.
  • Supporting the continued professional development of its members.
  • Serving as a centralized resource on police social work.
  • Serve as a coordinating body to identify and address emerging professional needs.


In March of 1970, the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission and the communities of Wheaton and Niles, under the sponsorship of the Jane Addams School of Social Work and University of Illinois at Chicago, funded the Police-Social Service Project. At the conclusion of the project, Wheaton and Niles continued to operate their police social services unit, funded independently by their communities’ budgets. The widespread appeal of an “in-house” police-social service partnership led to further development of several police social service units throughout suburban Illinois.

This new specialization in the field of social work gave rise to a need for professional consultation and collaboration. As a result, a group of 18 police department social workers formed the Association of Police Social Workers in July of 1975; now known as the Association of Police Social Services (APSS). Currently 52 members serve 42 police departments in the Chicagoland area, as well as police departments in Texas and Kentucky.

As police-based social service programs expanded into more departments, the responsibilities of the social workers grew as well. Today’s police-based social service programs reflect the growing needs of communities by providing: 24-hour crisis intervention on crime related calls, emergency mental health and geriatric assessments, counseling, court advocacy, community resource referrals, emergency financial assistance, community partnerships, critical incident/disaster mitigation, and police social service related trainings to police and community groups.

APSS is excited to be a part of the history and evolution of police-based social service programs throughout Illinois and beyond. We welcome your interest. To contact a member of the APSS Board, please send correspondence to: info@policesocialwork.org