Growing up in a poor neighborhood in the northwest side of Milwaukee, Casey Amoroso saw how easy it is for youth to get consumed by street gangs and gun violence. As an only child, she spent a lot of time with three neighbor boys. "They were like brothers," she says. She speaks endearingly of them, as together, they learned from one another and built a strong bond, looking out for each other. Additionally, Casey's involvement in competitive softball coupled with her supportive parents allowed Casey to avoid pitfalls other youth were unable to escape.
As the Mental Health Officer of the MPD's Central District, Casey has always had a strong interest in psychology. Despite dreaming of being a police officer since middle school, Casey took AP psychology courses in high school, and majored in sociology at UW-Whitewater, intending to be a therapist. However, she ultimately chose policing. Given Casey's childhood, she wanted to work more closely with the community, and policing allowed for that. Then, she discovered the MPD's Mental Health Unit. This inspired her to apply to the department, as she identified a way to amalgamate her professional interests.
Casey implements the same duality in her personal life. A first-time mother as of February 21, 2020, Casey explains that her self-identity is not diminished by motherhood, but rather, it is growing. Although being a mom has temporarily stopped Casey from her love of travel, she looks forward to when she and her husband can take their son on trips. "I would like to travel more, internationally," she says, "but with him, we will hit all fifty states, first."
Sharing her passion with family is essential to Casey's identity. It always has been. The neighbor boys from her childhood, whom she saw as brothers? Casey followed in their footsteps, as all three of them became police officers.
We Are the 28: Mental Health Awareness Month
The Mental Health Officer Team is comprised of six Mental Health Officers, a Mental Health Sergeant, and two embedded Law Enforcement Crisis Workers from Journey Mental Health. The composition of the team is critical to the success of Police-Mental Health collaboration.
The work of a Mental Health Officer is both varied and demanding. The Department selects these officers through a competitive process based on their demonstrated qualifications. These include an understanding of various mental disorders and a proven ability to interact with people living with mental health concerns with sensitivity, patience, and compassion; an understanding of mental health system processes and statutes; and the ability to form strong working relationships with partner agencies.
In association with Mental Health Awareness Month, join us throughout May as we recognize and highlight some of the dedicated women of the Mental Health Officer Team.