Crisis counselors are being hailed as police alternatives. It's too heavy a burden, some say.

Montgomery County's longtime crisis response center illustrates the pitfalls of embracing a policing alternative without proper resources or thinking through the implications. The racial-justice protests of 2020 inspired many more cities and counties to explore mobile crisis response teams instead of police, to minimize violence and get people needed help instead of incarceration. While Montgomery County's team often deescalates crises and can either provide care or refer people to needed services, it lacks the staff to respond effectively. And the system of mental health care is too thin for the need.

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