A new program in Denver that sends a paramedic+a mental health expert to 911 calls instead of police launched amid calls for alternatives to policing. So far, the van has taken more than 350 calls without once having to call in police backup
Earlier this year Denver created a non-police first-responder program in which mental health professionals respond to 911 calls related to mental health issues. They’ve responded to 350 calls and have needed to call for police backup zero times.
350 calls so far, and none of the unarmed, middle-aged hippies sent to check on distressed people in Denver have necessitated police back-up. Every city should have a STAR department by 2021 (Via )
“Instead of a police officer, dispatchers sent Carleigh Sailon, a seasoned mental health professional with a penchant for wearing Phish T-shirts, to see what was going on.” This is a big piece of the solution
Mental health professionals replace police on some Denver 911 calls under new program - on
This is an inspiring example of what serving the public good can look like. Think of it as supporting the police to focus on criminal activity rather than ad hoc mental health services and social work.