The Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland is announcing a program to redirect some 911 calls to mental health professionals.
According to CBS Baltimore, residents of the city are fed up with the endless violence and almost daily shootings. The homicide rate has risen 15 percent compared to the same time last year. Mayor Brandon Scott said that police should only be focusing on violent offenders and that officers should not be handling calls for people having behavioral issues. “Think about the sheer number of hours that our police officers are actually out dealing with something that they’re not trained to do, versus being out there going after someone who’s committed an armed carjacking,” he said.
The new 911 program is set to begin next month at no additional cost to the city. Baltimore already has contracts set up with the non-profit organizations providing the professionals. Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen had praise for the new pilot program. “You wouldn’t call a lawyer to deliver a baby, and we shouldn’t call upon our police to have to respond all these other situations,” the senator said. Similar programs have been debated across the country with critics saying that the police are better suited if an individual having an episode were to become violent.
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POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
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