In Denver, Unarmed Mental Health Workers Respond To Hundreds Of 911 Calls Instead Of Police

Since Denver launched its Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program in June, it has handled more than 600 calls for help with a mental health clinician and a paramedic instead of sending police officers. Modeled on Eugene, Oregon's CAHOOTS program, STAR is based on the notion that low-level emergencies involving mental health, homelessness, and substance abuse do not require police responses, and in fact can more often end peacefully by removing police from the equation. STAR started small, with one van on duty during weekday hours. Police support the move, and often call in STAR for assistance.

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