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IPFS News Link • Colorado

Denver Police Testing Idea Of Civilian Teams Responding To Some 911 Calls

•, By Karen Morfitt

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen says when it comes to crisis calls that do not involve a weapon or threat to other community members police may not always be the best response.

"If we have a team of dedicated individuals with those types of backgrounds, we feel like we can have a positive impact on our most vulnerable population," Chief Pazen said.

Denver would use a program already in use in Eugene, Oregon as a model. It is called Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets or CAHOOTS.

Denver Alliance for Street Health Response Director Vinnie Cervantes was among those in the community invited to Oregon to see how it works.

"They are trying to have not as many situations where law enforcement is the response and rather a community-based response is the answer for it," he said.

A mental health worker and medic are paired together and then can be dispatched to calls related to the homeless, mental health and substance abuse.