LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, June 23, passed a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn aimed at improving the public’s access to alternative crisis response teams when armed law enforcement may not be appropriate.
While there are instances when law enforcement officers are the most appropriate response to a call for help, there are also many scenarios when they are not. For example, calls for health and human services crises related to mental health, substance abuse, physical health, or homelessness would be better served in most cases by a non-law enforcement response team with appropriate training and expertise. These would include the County’s Psychiatric Mobile Response Team (PMRT) or the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Emergency Outreach Team. When people call for help during a crisis, they often call 911 and receive a law enforcement response that could be ineffective at best and harmful at worst.
Hahn’s motion instructs the Human Services Crisis Response Coordination Steering Committee to report back to the board in three months on the feasibility of:
- Establishing a unique number for non-law enforcement health and human services crisis responses;
- Reconfiguring 911 to more effectively triage calls involving health and human services crises to non-law enforcement first responders by default.