Columbus Experimented With Sending Mental Health Professionals Instead Of Police. Did It Work?
Over the past few years, calls to reform policing have rung out in cities across the country in the wake of use of force incidents against unarmed people, especially people of color.
The city of Columbus this year launched a month-long pilot program to test whether it could rethink one element of policing: response to calls involving mental health or addiction that don't involve violence.
The city set up a part-time program that dispatched "triage pods" made up of a social worker, an emergency dispatcher and a paramedic during weekdays between noon and 4 pm. Over the month of June, that group responded to 56 calls. None resulted in use of force, and only about half required further response from law enforcement.
Joining Cincinnati Edition to talk about the Alternative Response Pilot Program and its early results are Columbus Police Commander Dennis Jeffrey and Columbus Fire Captain Matt Parrish.
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