‘If the police aren’t needed, let’s leave them out completely’

Several cities across the country shift resources and responsibilities away from law enforcement to professionals trained to handle emergency calls for nonviolent, crisis situations
Pew Stateline (US)
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

us defund police2Every weekday morning, mental health clinician Carleigh Sailon turns on her police radio in downtown Denver and finds out who she can help next. She, along with a paramedic, jump in a repurposed city van, stripped of its blue lights and official insignia, and respond to 911 calls for people experiencing mental health crises, homelessness or drug addiction. Beginning this month, Denver’s emergency dispatch is sending social workers and health professionals, rather than police officers, to handle nonviolent situations. “If the police aren’t needed, let’s leave them out completely,” said Sailon, program manager for criminal justice services at the Mental Health Center for Denver. (See also: Addiction specialist: What defunding the police could mean for America’s drug epidemic)