Steve Inskeep, Rachel Martin, Rebecca Kaplan discussed on Morning Edition

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Could do so now by calling 888. 376 w N Y C. That's 8883769692. No donation is too small. No donation is too big. Go to W N Y C. That organ. And I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you that we have a great thank you gift that we're offering today and today only it will not be available after today. So if you would like to get a W N Y c six pack cooler. It's an insulated to the tote. That will keep your food and beverages cold this spring and summer as you go to the park travel or go to work. Maybe that is available today only for a pledge of $10 a month or a one time pledge of $120. You can see a picture of it A w n Y c dot order. Ask for when you call 8883769692. Thanks. It's morning edition from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin and I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. The past year a protest against police violence has led to experiments in police reform, and one of the most provocative efforts is changing, who responds to people facing a mental health crisis or a drug problem. Some cities were sending someone other than police. Denver, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon are trying this and we heard the other day about person in crisis teams and Rochester, New York, now Oakland, California is trying its own experiment. Here's NPR's Eric Western Belt. With startling repetition. Noncriminal crisis calls to police, often by a friend or loved one continue to be flash points for violence and death. Walter Wallace in Philadelphia, Daniel proved in Rochester and in late April, Oakland resident Mario Gonzales. This is from a 911 call to police in Alameda, a small city next to Oakland. The collars concerned a man Gonzalez is in a park next to his house, mumbling to himself. May be high on alcohol or drugs. Hey, was talking to himself and what else will be doing hanging out? I mean, he seems like he's tweaking, but he's not doing anything wrong. Just scaring my wife. Several 911 calls make clear There's no violence or imminent threat or any discernible criminal activity. Save a couple bottles of booze with security tags attached to showing they were probably stolen. Alameda. Police soon arrive and for unknown reasons. Officers quickly pin Gonzales to the ground on his stomach with their knees and hands for about five minutes. Body cam footage shows until Gonzalez is dead. Officers. Frantic efforts to revive him with CPR failed, Mario Okay, wake up. Wake up. 26 year old leaves behind a grieving family, including a four year old son. The Alameda officers involved are on paid leave, while multiple agencies investigate a nought. Autopsy is pending. It's exactly these kinds of nonviolent non criminal calls that neighboring Oakland wants to take police out of not only mental health, but the whole range of lower level issues. They shouldn't require a gun. To be part of the response. Oakland's vice mayor and council member, Rebecca Kaplan, has championed the soon to be launched Mental health pilot program called mobile Assistants, Community responders of Oakland or macro. There has been a tendency in America to blame mental health challenges for the problems of violence. But people facing mental health challenges are more often the ones who are shot or who are harms. In other ways such as what happened to marry a Gonzalez. One study estimates people with an untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed during an encounter with police than other civilians. Oakland's program will operate under the fire department. But the teams will be made up of civilians, not sworn firefighters. And while other cities street teams are sending out, a licensed clinical, social worker or psychologist opened is placing an emphasis on lived experience over formal education, says Deputy Fire Chief Melinda Drayton. I think that the community was crystal clear and have continued to be crystal clear with me. They do not want a license social worker as part of the street team. And so, she says, the Fire Department is delivering what the community wants. These new civilian teams will de escalate problems, straightened says and potentially get the person in crisis. The Annie the Ale. Psychiatric ward or a hospital will be able to take them with you. City private, nonprofit, many based services, health care clinics, maybe to their dad's house. That simple. Is that right where you're going to feel safe for the knife. The plan is for a civilian emergency medical technician to be paired with someone, for example, with first hand knowledge of the mental health, criminal justice, homeless or drug treatment systems. Got. Brooks, co founder of Oakland's anti police terror project has worked on this issue for years. Sometimes people just need to be heard. Sometimes people just need a warm blanket. Sometimes people just need to sober up. You know, I mean, they need to be able to scream right. Like why is that such a big deal? Why does that scare us so much? Look at the world that we live in? I want to scream all the damn time. Brooks is a key advocate for the program. She believes the best people to help are those with street knowledge of the systems that have failed them. What she calls the medical industrial complex and that complex doctors, nurses, psychologists, stereotypes black brown and indigenous bodies criminalizes black Brandon indigenous bodies. I'm Justus, much as as law enforcement agencies to and so these models Have to be more about the ideology.

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