I think this is a step in the right direction.
Courtesy of Business Insider:
Police will no longer respond to non-criminal calls, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced as part of a set of policies to address structural inequities.
“San Francisco has made progress reforming our police department, but we know that we still have significant work to do,” Breed said in a statement. “We know that a lack of equity in our society overall leads to a lot of the problems that police are being asked to solve. We are going to keep pushing for additional reforms and continue to find ways to reinvest in communities that have historically been underserved and harmed by systemic racism.”
Breed’s plan, which will be rolled out in the upcoming months, also includes addressing police bias and strengthening accountability, demilitarizing the police, and promoting economic justice. The goal is to limit police confrontations, and comes a few weeks after protests began across the country following the killing of George Floyd — including calls to reform, defund, or abolish the police.
The city will divert non-violent calls from the police department to “non-law enforcement agencies,” according to the statement.
According to the Los Angeles Times, trained and unarmed professionals will respond to calls involving mental health, the homeless, school discipline, and neighbor disputes.
“Over the next year, the City will develop a systematic response plan to improve direct connection to community-based or City service providers,” the statement said.
You know in Alaska we have the Village Public Safety Officer Program which is made up of unarmed locals who respond to problems in the villages in which they live.
Not only is law enforcement often too far away to respond in a timely manner, but the VPSO’s are often capable of calming a situation down without relying on pepper spray, firearms, or taser weapons.
I have often wondered why police are always the first professionals called to situations that call for calm diplomacy rather than aggressive crisis control.
For a lot of people with mental health issues or a history of trauma seeing a police officer in uniform is more likely to trigger them than to calm them down.
There are good cops out there, but their training is often focused on taking down the bad guy more than protecting the mentally ill or dealing with domestic issues.
I think San Francisco is moving in the right direction, and hopefully, other communities will follow suit.