LA reveals plans to create unarmed crisis teams to respond to nonviolent 911 calls in the hopes of reducing police brutality

  • The Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday in favor of plans to create an unarmed crisis response team for nonviolent 911 calls in hopes of reducing police brutality.
  • The team would be used to respond to calls that do not require force, including calls related to mental health crises, substance abuse, and suicide threats, among others.
  • The measures, which were welcomed by the Los Angeles Police Department, are the result of months of unrest over police brutality.
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The Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday in favor of plans to create an unarmed crisis response team for 911 calls that do not require the use of force.

The approved measures, which passed unanimously, will create a new classification for city employees who respond to nonviolent calls. They also allow for the city to partner with nonprofit organizations to develop a pilot program for the plans.

"We have failed people who really need our assistance, council president Nury Martinez said. "The majority of them happen to be Black and brown who are struggling with mental health issues and homelessness. And to give the police department more to handle, I don't think it's fair."

The program would specifically allow 911 operators to dispatch mental health experts, homeless outreach workers, and medical professionals, as well as others, to calls that may not require the use of force. Those nonviolent calls may be related to mental health crises, substance abuse, wellness checks, and suicide threats, among others.

The Los Angeles Police Department welcomed the measures.

"For far too long the men and women of the department have been asked to respond to calls from our community that would be more effectively addressed by others," the LAPD said in a statement provided to KCBS-TV.

"Consistent with our core value of 'Quality Through Continuous Improvement,' we look forward to the establishment of trained professionals, whether new city employees or community organizations, available both day and night to handle these non-emergency calls that our community expects."

The plans are a response to months of unrest over police brutality, with protesters nationwide demanding police reform. Los Angeles is just the latest city to announce plans for an unarmed response team.

The city will look to programs in other cities while modeling their plans, including the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon, according to a report from LA's Chief Legislative Analyst.

The passed motion will now go to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's office for final approval.

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