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Woman Chases Off Social Worker

February 1, 2010 permalink

Two Kentucky social workers were stalking when Brigette Howard, who was not their target, chased them away at gunpoint.



Recent incident stresses need for social worker safety

Posted January 27, 2010, By Becky Graham, Posted by Sarah Harlan

Brigette Howard

HENDERSON CO., KY (WFIE) - It was a scary moment for some social workers in Henderson.

Sheriff's deputies said a woman with a gun chased them.

The woman, 50-year-old Brigette Howard, has been arrested, but the incident does bring up the issue of social worker safety.

In 2006, Boni Frederick proved social work was a deadly profession.

The Union County woman was brutally murdered while on duty.

Months later, Kentucky passed the Boni Frederick Memorial Bill, which promised to improve the safety of her peers, but one recent incident has Henderson officers wondering if social workers are in fact any safer.

Henderson social workers know the protocol. If they feel uneasy about a house call, immediately call for back up.

"Their job is absolutely dangerous and they have to take every precaution they can take because they're not in the position we're in," Col. David Crafton with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office said. "They're not armed."

Tuesday, two Henderson social workers did just that.

Deputies said Ashlee Alexander and Rhonda Hagan pulled over in front of a house on Kentucky 416 to wait for law enforcement to assist them on a visit, but before they got there, the unexpected happened.

"They were near a house that belonged to Ms. Brigette Howard," Crafton said. "Ms. Howard came out of the house and came toward the social workers with a rifle. The social workers then drove away."

Col. Crafton said Howard kept chasing the car on foot with the gun.

When the driver stopped the car, the women said they showed Howard their social services I.D.s and told her they weren't coming to see her, but they said she wouldn't put away the gun.

"They had to put it in drive and drive rapidly past her," Crafton said. "She was blocking the way."

Howard was arrested, but a Henderson Police officer wants to know where the additional protection promised to these men and women by Boni's Bill is.

"I think they are fine if they are expecting danger, but it's when they get to these locations and there is something they're not anticipating," Sgt. John Nevels with the Henderson Police Department said.

The complaint is being echoed statewide.

Kentucky lawmaker Tom Burch, who introduced Boni's Bill, said only $2 million of the $6 million allocated for extra protection for social workers materialized, and that money was spent poorly.

Burch said he wants to introduce a new Boni's Bill.

"I've often thought they outta have some sort of panic button or alarm or something like that just in case they get in a situation like Ms. Frederick was," Nevels said.

14 News contacted the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and they said great changes come from Boni's Bill, including more training for their employees.

Source: WFIE Evansville

woman with shotgun