Vera recently released a digital report, Behavioral Health Crisis Alternatives: Shifting from Police to Community Responses.
The report addresses the need to reduce the role of police as first responders to people who are experiencing a health crisis and includes guidance for jurisdictions seeking alternatives that prioritize access to treatment and other essential support services. We examine recent efforts across the country – with a focus on Eugene, Oregon; Olympia, Washington; and Phoenix, Arizona – to reduce police involvement in crisis calls that can be better handled by behavioral health specialists. In addition to our three case studies, the report provides an overview of crisis response programs, including a typology of approaches organized by the involvement of law enforcement. It also provides key considerations to guide practitioners and advocates in their efforts to similarly shift responses from police to alternative responders in their communities.