The Los Angeles City Council passed by a unanimous vote a proposal that directly addressed police reform efforts in the city. The city council voted for the creation of a crisis response team to handle any non-violent calls that come into the 911 call center. Instead of using officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, the pilot program will make use of non-profits that do work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, suicide, and behavioral issues. When a non-violent call is received, 911 operators will transfer the caller to one of the partnering organizations. City employees who will also be tasked with responding to these calls will have a new classification.
Council members believe this measure will be successful at saving lives. It isn’t just the council members that are in favor of such actions. The LAPD agrees with the proposal and is in full support of it. It is believed that the LAPD has had to use too many resources on non-violent calls that should have been put towards actual criminal crimes.
Teams would be created consisting of mental health professionals, outreach workers that work with the homeless population, and medical professionals. These comprehensive teams would be dispatched to assist callers. Callers would receive assistance from a team that has specific experience and expertise for their needs. The respondents would not be armed with any type of lethal or non-lethal weapons.
There are many people in the Black and brown communities in the city that are suffering from a mental affliction and homelessness who have not been able to get the help they need. Instead of a mental health professional or an outreach worker coming to the aid of these individuals, it was police officers. Now, instead of handling all 911-related issues in the city, the LAPD can stay focused on only going out to address more dangerous incidents that may require the use of force.
The council believes that the non-armed teams alongside the police will offer the city a full, and well-rounded crisis response system that will greatly benefit public safety. The only thing left for the proposal to go into full effect is for Mayor Eric Garcetti to review it and approve it.
Mental Health in Los Angeles
One of the most prominent mental health issues is depression. Depression exists in Los Angeles, across the country, and throughout the world. Approximately 300 million people in the world have to deal with depression with Brazil reporting the highest amount of cases in adults. In Brazil, it is estimated that about 10% of the population suffers from depression. In the United States, depression is estimated to exist in about 8.3% of the population.
In Los Angeles, women suffer from depression at higher rates than men. White individuals report the highest occurrences in the city. The second most reported cases are in the African American population. Those in the city of Asian descent have the lowest reported rates.
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