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LA City Council approves plan to create unarmed crisis response team to respond to nonviolent 911 calls instead of LAPD officers

 The Los Angeles City Council has just approved a plan to create an unarmed crisis response team to respond to nonviolent 911 calls instead of LAPD officers. 

The council voted unanimously on Wednesday to move forward with the plan that will see unarmed trained service providers respond to certain 911 calls.

Under the plan, the trained specialists would respond to calls involving - but not limited to - mental health issues, substance abuse or even nonviolent neighborly disputes.  


The proposal was first put forward back in June by six of the council's 15 members following nationwide calls for law enforcement reforms in the wake of George Floyd's killing. 

It called for teams of professionals, such as homeless outreach workers and social workers, to handle certain emergency situations including mental health crises and substance abuse calls that police may not be adequately trained to handle. 

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday to move forward with a plan that will see unarmed trained service providers respond to nonviolent 911 calls instead of LAPD

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday to move forward with a plan that will see unarmed trained service providers respond to nonviolent 911 calls instead of LAPD

They had argued that unarmed service providers may be a better fit in certain scenarios where having a weapon may potentially just escalate a situation. 

Following the unanimous vote, the city council will now issue a request for proposal for a nonprofit partner to help implement a pilot version of the unarmed crisis response team. 

They will also now create a new classification of city employees who will respond to the nonviolent 911 calls.  

The LAPD, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and the Department of Mental Health are all expected to help develop the model and weigh in on the reclassification. 

It is not clear when the pilot program will be put in place.  

Council President Nury Martinez issued a statement calling the vote a 'seminal moment' the LA's history in its push to reimagine public safety. 

'Through this unarmed response pilot for non-violent calls, we will help Angelenos get the mental health and other support services they need from trained professionals,' she said.  

'We will also free up police officers to do the work they are trained to do. Ultimately, this will also allow us to provide our black and brown communities with the resources they deserve.' 

LAPD union director TJ Tarjamo said he supports the idea of a community response team for certain situations. 

He did, however, say that the team needed to be properly developed and should not just be a 'knee-jerk reactions that are designed to appease current hashtags'. 

The decision to move forward with the plan comes amid widespread calls for racial justice and Black Lives Matter protests nationwide. 

LA Councilmember Herb J. Wesson, Jr. noted that George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police back in May, may still be alive if trained professionals had responded to the 911 call concerning him. 

'Calling the police on George Floyd about an alleged counterfeit $20 bill ended his life,' Wesson tweeted. 

'If George Floyd had been met with unarmed, trained specialists for the nonviolent crime he was accused of, he would be turning 47 years old today. 

'This plan will save lives, and I'm so proud of my colleagues on the council for voting to move this forward.' 

The motion for an unarmed crisis response team referenced a program in Eugene, Oregon, that uses crisis intervention workers instead of police to handle certain calls, including family disputes. 

It comes after city leaders voted in July to slash the LAPD budget by $150 million, reducing the number of officers to a level not seen for more than a decade.

About two-thirds of the funding was earmarked for police overtime and will be used to provide services and programs for communities of color, including a youth summer jobs program. 

The City Council's 12-2 vote will see the number of officers drop from 9,988 to 9,757 by next summer, abandoning a goal of 10,000 officers touted by political leaders and only reached in 2013. 

The council now has to work with the LAPD and other services to determine a new classification for who would respond to such situations

The council now has to work with the LAPD and other services to determine a new classification for who would respond to such situations

2 comments:

  1. There's no such thing as a 'Non-Profit' agency...They are all profit.

    ReplyDelete