Seattle has started hiring unarmed ‘alternate response teams’ to answer 911 calls for behavioral health emergencies. This decision, in the wake of defunding the police sentiment, is like trying to play Jenga with a wrecking ball. While the intention to relieve the police force from dealing with behavioral health cases is commendable, one might ask, “What could possibly go wrong?” When you think of emergency response, the image of an unarmed social worker doesn’t necessarily spring to mind. But hey, if a guy’s chasing people with a knife, why not throw in a therapist to sweet-talk him? Starting this October, if you find yourself in the heart of Seattle, you might just witness this grand experiment in action. It’ll be something between an Oscar-nominated drama and a reality TV show – minus the commercial breaks.
In the spirit of political adventures, Councilwoman Lisa Herbold championed this pilot program. She announced the hiring of positions for unarmed crisis responders to tackle specific emergency calls. The overarching idea is to have a more ‘compassionate’ approach, but when you’re dealing with individuals in unpredictable states, there’s no guarantee a therapy session is what they need in the heat of the moment. While some praise the initiative for potentially freeing up police to attend more pressing concerns, critics suggest this is less of a solution and more of a comedic skit waiting for its punchline.
#SeattleSocialExperiment #911NewResponders #PopcornReady
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