Oakland Plan To Replace Police With Mental Health Workers In Disarray

As protests against police brutality swept Oakland in June, the City Council took a bold step toward rethinking public safety: It set aside $1.85 million for a new program to dispatch counselors and paramedics to mental health crises, instead of armed law enforcement officers.

Eight months later, the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland program, known as MACRO, has yet to get off the runway. And on Wednesday, two community organizations that were vying for the contract bowed out.

“This is very disappointing to say the least,” Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas wrote Thursday in an email to city officials, announcing that the two groups — Bay Area Community Services and Alliance for Community Wellness, also known as La Familia Counseling Service — had pulled their applications.

The city mental health program, billed as a temporary pilot originally set to begin in January, represents an experiment in redistributing police funding that is playing out in cities across the U.S. In Oakland, the effort is complicated by politics. A battle flared up this month over which nonprofit would receive taxpayer funds to handle duties that have long fallen on sworn police officers. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Comments

  1. Perhaps the mental health professionals could practice on the city council.

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