Police in Denver, Colorado are in the early stages of developing a pilot program in which mental health workers and medics would respond to certain 911 calls, instead of police officers.
According to Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen, not every 911 call is a crisis that a police officer is best-equipped to respond to.
“If we have a team of dedicated individuals with those types of backgrounds, we feel like we can have a positive impact on our most vulnerable population,” Chief Pazen said.
A similar program is already implemented in Eugene, Oregon, and is called Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets, or CAHOOTS for short.
“They are trying to have not as many situations where law enforcement is the response and rather a community-based response is the answer for it,” Denver Alliance for Street Health Response Director Vinnie Cervantes said.
There's no set date yet for when the civilian team will begin dispatching, but Pazen is hopeful for a positive response to the new program.
“We want this done right and we also recognize that there is a need right now, we are going to be working as quickly as possible to get this up,” Pazen said.
Check out all of the details on CBS4 Denver.