Philadelphia has a behavioral well being specialist embedded within the police dispatch heart for the primary time, a step Mayor Jim Kenney mentioned marks progress towards promised police reforms, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. With behavioral well being specialists helping within the radio room, officers mentioned town can higher establish 911 calls that contain psychological well being points and supply companies to these residents as an alternative of arresting them. The initiative features a co-responder program, wherein scientific workers and police work collectively to answer such calls. “The objective of this system is to soundly deflect people with behavioral well being wants away from the legal justice system and into extra acceptable behavioral well being care or social companies in the neighborhood,” Kenney mentioned.
The brand new program locations scientific staffers with dispatchers to find out one of the best response to calls from the general public or patrol officers involving behavioral well being. A “triage desk” will likely be established to establish these calls, town mentioned. Officers mentioned planning for this system has been below approach since final 12 months.The problem of police responses to 911 calls has gained consideration in latest months, as protesters demanded police reform and pushed to “defund the police.” Kenney mentioned, “We’re … making an attempt to get objects that had been historically 911 calls out of the arms of police, as a result of it’s actually not their coaching or duty to take care of folks which are experiencing habit or psychological well being points or homelessness.” In a pilot program that embedded outreach staff with police in a single space, officers mentioned they made greater than 150 connections to companies with out making any arrests. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw mentioned embedding scientific workers with 911 dispatchers will considerably enhance her division’s responses.