In Major Police Reform SFPD Will No Longer Handle Most Psychiatric and Behavioral Crisis Calls

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A San Francisco Police Department cruiser on March 23, 2015. (Alex Emslie/KQED)

Protesters around the country have demanded the defunding of police because of excessive force used all too often in situations that critics say could be dealt with nonviolently. Now San Francisco is launching the country’s largest experiment in reform by taking most psychiatric, behavioral and substance abuse crisis calls out of the hands of police. Instead, unarmed mobile teams -- made up of a paramedic, a mental health professional and a peer advocate -- will respond to the calls. We’ll talk about San Francisco’s program, which will be phased in next month, and similar efforts around the country.


Eric Westervelt, correspondent based in San Francisco, NPR