Oregon: City of Portland Wants to Change the Way It Responds to 911 Calls; Public Safety Unions Are Hopping Mad

  • Source: Willamette Week
  • Published: 11/27/2019 12:00 AM

The Portland City Council took what might look like a baby step last week toward more efficient handling of non-emergency 911 calls. In a break from current practice, in which uniformed, armed police officers in squad cars or a truckload of firefighters respond, commissioners approved a pilot project in which a new "third branch" of the first-responder system, staffed by a specially trained firefighter and a contracted crisis worker, would respond to some non-emergency situations. The program starts with just one two-person team. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, architect of the two-responder pilot project, called Portland Street Response, framed it as a much bigger deal. "This is revolutionary," Hardesty said. "We have not changed our first-response system since the late 1800s."


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