Several communities around the country had already shifted some funding from the police into mental health resources before the current calls to “defund the police” arose in the wake of George Floyd’s death, USA Today reports.
In these communities, crisis intervention teams generally do not include an armed, uniformed officer. Instead, they have counselors, social workers and paramedics.
A program in Eugene, Oregon called CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets) is a model other cities are looking to as they start to create their own programs. CAHOOTS teams usually respond to 911 calls that are not a criminal or medical emergency.
Earlier this month, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the city will create a crisis intervention program similar to CAHOOTS as part of its police reforms. Los Angeles, Albuquerque and Portland, Oregon have come up with similar proposals. CAHOOTS Operations Coordinator Tim Black said his program has been in discussions with cities in New York, Texas and Kentucky.