The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to develop a team of various, unarmed service providers who would respond to nonviolent emergency calls instead of police officers.
The service providers would respond to calls related to mental health issues, neighbor disputes, substance abuse incidents and others that don’t involve use of force.
“This is the dawn of a new era of public safety in Los Angeles,” Councilman Herb Wesson said on Twitter. “The bottom line is that the way things have been going is not working for our communities. This last month has made that crystal clear. We have a responsibility to listen to our people, and our people have spoken. I look forward to continuing this work alongside (Black Lives Matter-LA).”
The motion, authored by Wesson and Council President Nury Martinez, also directs the Chief Legislative Analysts’ office to analyze and report back on programs utilized both domestically and internationally, such as one model in Eugene, Oregon, as well as other models of crisis intervention.
The Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and the county Department of Mental Health will weigh in on the development of the model, according to the motion.
“This won’t solve all of our problems right away, but this move marks a sea change in our city’s approach to public safety, and I’m optimistic cities and counties across the nation will follow our lead,” Wesson said.