Politics

Unarmed Professionals Will Now Respond to Non-Criminal Police Calls in San Francisco to Reduce ‘Police Confrontations’

  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in the coming months, professionals would respond to non-criminal calls instead of officers.
  • The move is part of a four-part plan to limit police confrontation.
  • It comes after weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd, where protesters have called for defunding police departments and increasing community services.  

Police will no longer respond to non-criminal calls, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced as part of a set of policies to address structural inequities. 

“San Francisco has made progress reforming our police department, but we know that we still have significant work to do,” Breed said in a statement. “We know that a lack of equity in our society overall leads to a lot of the problems that police are being asked to solve. We are going to keep pushing for additional reforms and continue to find ways to reinvest in communities that have historically been underserved and harmed by systemic racism.” 

Breed’s plan, which will be rolled out in the upcoming months, also includes addressing police bias and strengthening accountability, demilitarizing the police, and promoting economic justice. The goal is to limit police confrontations, and comes a few weeks after protests began across the country following the killing of George Floyd — including calls to reform, defund, or abolish the police.

The city will divert non-violent calls from the police department to “non-law enforcement agencies,” according to the statement.

According to the Los Angeles Times, trained and unarmed professionals will respond to calls involving mental health, the homeless, school discipline, and neighbor disputes.

“Over the next year, the City will develop a systematic response plan to improve direct connection to community-based or City service providers,” the statement said. 

The system would mirror the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon. According to High Country News, the program uses a medic and a mental health crisis manager to respond to emergency mental health, homelessness, and addiction calls.

Additionally, according to the LA Times, the program Oregon also features a “mobile crisis intervention unit,” which “performs welfare checks and works with nonprofits to offer suicide intervention and prevention.”

“For too long, black people have been subjected to violence at the hands of people in power,” Breed said during a panel Thursday on racial justice broadcast online, according to the Times. “Now is the time when we can make sure that these demonstrations that we see are translated into real action.”

Breed’s proposal would also ban the city police department from using tear gas in non-criminal settings, as well as redirect money to “programs and organizations that serve communities that have been systematically harmed by past City policies,” Insider previously reported. 

“Decades of disinvestment in the African-American community and racially disparate policies in San Francisco have exacerbated disproportionate harm in Black communities,” the mayor’s office said, “affecting outcomes from health and wellness to housing insecurity and economic outcomes.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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