Denver Will Use Civilians to Respond to Some 911 Calls

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Denver police are developing a pilot program that would dispatch civilian teams to certain 911 calls. Instead of a police officer, a team of mental health workers and medics would respond, CBS 4 Denver reports.

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen says when it comes to crisis calls that do not involve a weapon or threat to other community members, police may not always be the best response. Denver would use a program already in use in Eugene, Ore., as a model. It is called Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets or CAHOOTS. A mental health worker and medic are paired together and can be dispatched to calls related to the homeless, mental health and substance abuse. Pazen says determining the threshold for those calls will be a balance. He is hoping to have as much input from community groups as possible to ensure a successful rollout.

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