California city moves to put fire department in charge of mental health response calls, not police

  • Source: East Bay Times - Metered Site
  • Published: 03/04/2021 12:00 AM

When someone has a mental health crisis in Oakland, chances are good in the near future that police officers won’t be showing up to try to calm them down. The City Council this week unanimously signaled that it wants the fire department to handle mental health crises and other non-crime calls by sending out paramedics and counselors. Although residents of Oakland and other cities have long discussed the benefit of dispatching special teams of civilians to deescalate tense situations, the idea picked up momentum in the wake of high-profile police killings of Black Americans and other people of color.. In the summer of 2019, the Oakland City Council authorized paying the Urban Strategies Council $40,000 to come up with a feasibility analysis of creating a non-police response team model such as the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets — CAHOOTS — program that the city of Eugene, Oregon, has successfully operated for three decades.


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