Unarmed professionals will now respond to non-criminal police calls in San Francisco to reduce 'police confrontations'
The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, speaks during a press conference at the future location of a transitional youth navigation center on January 15, 2020 in San Francisco, California. The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, announced the opening of a new SAFE navigation center for the homeless at 33 Gough. The opening brings the total number of new protective beds that are under construction and still under development to more than 1,000 before the end of the year.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, said professionals would respond to non-criminal calls rather than officials in the coming months.
The move is part of a four-part plan to limit police confrontation.
It comes after weeks of protests after the death of George Floyd, where demonstrators have called for police services to be defused and community service to be increased.
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Police will no longer respond to non-criminal calls, the Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, announced as part of a series of guidelines to address structural inequalities.
"San Francisco has made progress in reforming our police force, but we know we still have a lot to do," Breed said in a statement. "We know that a lack of justice in our society as a whole leads to many problems that the police have to solve. We will continue to push for additional reforms and continue to find ways to invest in communities that have been historically underserved and through systemic racism damaged. "
Breed's plan, which will be launched in the coming months, also includes tackling police prejudice and accountability, demilitarizing the police and promoting economic justice. The goal is to limit police confrontation. This happens a few weeks after protests across the country began after George Floyd's murder, including calls for reform, defusing, or abolition of the police.
The city is said to divert non-violent calls from the police to "non-law enforcement agencies".
According to the Los Angeles Times, trained and unarmed professionals will respond to calls that affect mental health, homeless people, school discipline, and disputes with neighbors.
"Over the next year, the city will develop a systematic response plan to improve direct links with municipal or city service providers," the statement said.
The system would reflect the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon. According to High Country News, the program uses a paramedic and mental health crisis manager to respond to mental health, homelessness, and addiction emergencies.
In addition, according to the LA Times, the Oregon program has a "mobile crisis intervention unit" that "conducts welfare checks and works with nonprofits to offer suicide interventions and prevention."
"Black people have been subjected to violence by those in power for too long," Breed said, according to the Times, during a panel on Thursday about racial justice broadcast online. "Now is the time to make sure that the demonstrations we see are translated into real action."
Breed's proposal would also prohibit city police from using tear gas in non-criminal environments, and direct money to "programs and organizations that serve communities that have been systematically damaged by previous city policies," Insider previously reported.
"Decades of disinvestments in the African American community and racially diverse policies in San Francisco have exacerbated the disproportionate damage to black communities," said the mayor's office, "which affects health and wellbeing outcomes, housing uncertainty and the economic results. "
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