What if people experiencing a crisis received meaningful help rather than arrest, abuse and the muzzle of a gun? We can defund the police to fund useful services.
In Denver, a team of mental health professionals has responded to over 350 calls to 911 since June. As reported in the Denver Post, Denver’s Support Team Assistance Response program has not once called for armed backup, and they have managed to meaningfully help people rather than kill them.
Many 911 calls are related to mental health issues; why shouldn’t mental health professionals handle them? Cops aren’t social workers and never can be trained to act as such.
Tacoma should redirect funding away from TPD and toward social workers. The Homelessness Outreach Team is an immediately obvious opportunity, as many homeless people also have mental health issues. But we should not limit ourselves.
Making this kind of humane change would save lives and put money where it belongs: helping and supporting the people of Tacoma.