Police reform: Crisis Assistance a Proven Model

Rather than trying to defund police departments, a smarter approach would be to decrease confrontations in the first place using a combined medical/behavioral team.

In 2019, Olympia started sending crisis responders to nonviolent incidents instead of police. This approach is based on the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) model created 30 years ago by the Whitebird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon. CAHOOTS offers 24/7 help, dispatched through the Eugene police-fire-ambulance communication centers. The team utilizes the power of three: medical specialist, mental-health specialist and the police as an unseen resource/backup for the mobile team. Almost 20% of 911 calls, CAHOOTS uses less than 3% of the police annual budget.

Similar programs in Oakland, California, and Denver, Colorado, have shown that the CAHOOTS model works, can be used in many different city settings and costs a fraction of the police budget. Finally, the CAHOOTS model has gained federal support as Section No. 9813 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Does your city have such a team? If not, why not? Like all great ideas, it’s simple but so powerful.               

JoAnn Ten Brinke, Redmond

Regional newspapers can thrive again if they go back to their community role
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4 Responses to Police reform: Crisis Assistance a Proven Model

  1. Hmmmm, the police departments have always been known to house the KKKs and I honestly believe to this day they still house them. I don’t have a solution to issues but my emotions and beliefs run deep in regards to this department.

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      Yes, history has clearly shown that The Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups terrorized black communities. Creating a crater in the trust department. Which is leading to a bigger void with the constant shooting of black people. I do not have a concrete solution, but I think retraining law enforcement, departmental transparency within law enforcement, community dialogue, and programs like CAHOOTS are all wonderful starting places.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know we were pushing our children to go into STEM and other fields that we felt were rewarding. But we need to encourage our young people to be police officers, nurses, politicians. Because “we” are not represented in those places thus why “we” are progressing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • msw blog says:

        They are great professions, and yes, we are underrepresented in those areas. We are also underrepresented in the trades. I have openly shared my plumber, landscaping, and contracting quotes with students. So, they can see that they can make a very livable wage, without the college debt.

        Liked by 1 person

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