Cops, crisis calls and conflict over who should help

Seattle Police Department's crisis response team answers some of the city's many 911 calls for people in distress, pairing police trained in handling such calls with mental health professionals. The aim is to counter the default policing approach to problems that usually involve mental illness or substance abuse, which is to control people. It doesn't always work, due to the complexity of the calls, the nature of policing, and the department's limited resources devoted to the program. But, when it works, it can help rather than escalate situations, and avoid the ultimate failure, the use of excessive force.

Related Stories