Soon, civilians with the Oakland Fire Department may respond to mental health crises instead of police.
The Oakland City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to consider in two weeks an amended ordinance that would create a Civilian Crisis Response Division in the Fire Department. That division would launch and administer the city’s Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland program, also known as MACRO, a civilian response to mental health and other nonviolent, low-level crises.
“We need it now,” Councilmember Treva Reid said of MACRO. “East Oakland wanted it launched yesterday.”
Councilmembers recently considered having a nonprofit such as La Familia Counseling Service or Bay Area Community Services administer MACRO. But several reasons emerged Tuesday that make it appear the Fire Department is best suited to manage the program.