New York City will now send mental health experts instead of cops to certain 911 calls

  • 21 Nov - 27 Nov, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

New York City is launching a new pilot programme that will send mental health experts instead of police officers to respond to 911 calls that are mental health related and nonviolent. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the new programme, which will dispatch Emergency Medical Services health professionals and mental health crisis workers to select 911 calls in two high-need communities which have not yet been named. The new programme will launch in February 2021 with professionals who have been trained to de-escalate emergency situations such a suicide attempts, substance misuse and serious mental illness. In situations where a weapon is involved or there is believed to be an imminent risk of harm, the mental health teams will be joined by NYPD officers. The New York City programme is modeled on those that have been implemented in other cities, including CAHOOTS in Eugene, Oregon, which responded to approximately 24,000 calls last year. Of those, only 150 cases needed police backup.