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Police Officer, Social Work alumna creates change

Police Office David Hofer
Euless Police Officer David Hofer killed in the line of duty March 1, 2016.

The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work alumna and Euless Police Officer Kimberly Parker made a push toward implementing peer and emotional support for her police department following an incident in involving the death of a fellow officer.

Euless Police Officer David Hofer was ambushed and killed at J.A. Carr Park March 1, 2016, after answering a call of shots fired in the area.

“The administration and department was in so much distress during this time, that there was a need to heal the broken hearts,” Parker said.

Parker has served as a police officer for more than 20 years, taking several positions from patrol to mental health law liaison. Furthering her education and earning her social work degree at the UTA School of Social Work granted her the ability to create new programs and obtain the trust of administrators.

“David’s death broke my heart and made me question everything,” Parker said. “Several months after his death I made a commitment to honor his memory.”

Parker attributes her patience with others and gratitude for life to her social work degree. With her Master’s in Social Work she is able to provide her brothers and sisters in blue the strength and resources they need to move forward during difficult situations.

“If a police officer does not deal with trauma in a healthy manner, it might come to affect their home life and overall performance,” Parker said.

UTA School of Social Work Assistant Professor in Practice Kiva Harper mentors Parker.

“Parker goes beyond what a typical police officer would do for her community. She’s just really committed to the work that she does for her citizens, for her fellow officers and even for her officers’ families,” Harper said.

Parker also works with the families by guiding them, finding out what their insurance situation is and searching for the best counseling facility suited for them.

Kimberly Parker and Winnie
Euless Police Officer and UTA MSW graduate Kimberly Parker with Winnie

“Even though the department went through such a tragedy, they came out much stronger,” Harper said.

According to Parker, police officers often work in a “macho” environment and there is a stigma toward getting help for mental health. However, police officers still undergo the stress and cannot be expected to be completely detached, Parker said.

“We’re still a human that has emotions and that’s going to have a response to what we are seeing and dealing with,” she said.

Police departments across the country are employing more social workers to provide services in areas such as domestic violence, mental health, substance abuse and officer PTSD.

News Topics: Alumni