/ November 10, 2020

USA Today: Pilot program will replace NYPD for mental health 911 calls in 2 neighborhoods

NEW YORK — New York City plans to launch a pilot program in two neighborhoods that will replace NYPD officers for most 911 calls for mental health emergencies with a team of mental health and crisis professionals.

The new procedure is set to go into effect early next year in two “high-need” communities in New York City that are still being selected based on the number of 911 calls for mental health crises.

“This is the first time in our history that health professionals will be the default responders to mental health emergencies,” New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray said Tuesday as she announced the policy alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio and city health officials.

“Treating mental health crises as mental health challenges, and not public safety ones, is the modern and most appropriate approach,” she added.