This week, I joined Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, and Councilmembers Mitch O'Farrell, Monica Rodriguez, Kevin de León and Bob Blumenfield as we introduced a motion calling for the creation of a citywide office of unarmed response.
The motion builds on a slew of thoughtful and balanced efforts that shift nonviolent calls for service to unarmed, non-law enforcement agencies. As we reimagine the way Los Angeles delivers public safety, it's imperative that we continue with the expansion of unarmed response models that redirect calls such as those related to people experiencing homelessness who are in distress, and instead send trained service providers to directly assist people with resources and case management.
This latest commitment builds upon the various pilots already underway and in development citywide. Launched in 2021, the Crisis and Incident Response through Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE) program diverts some 9-1-1 calls related to homelessness in Hollywood away from law enforcement to trained, unarmed teams of outreach workers and behavioral health clinicians. The latest, initiating this past February, is the Call Redirection to Ensure Suicide Safety (CRESS) program, which diverts non-imminent suicide calls to the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Crisis Call Center.
We have reached a critical juncture in the City of LA and while we knew reimagining public safety would not happen overnight, establishing an Office of Unarmed Response and Safety is meant to solidify the long-term results we all want to see; a system built on compassion, fairness and transparency.
The idea of reimagining public safety was never meant to be a tagline or a way to pacify the heartache constantly felt within Black and Brown communities. It was a promise to Angelenos that they have been seen and heard by City leaders to challenge the status quo, abolish disparities and implement change.
Coming together as a collective body and one voice shows the strength and commitment toward seeing this through.
Click the link to the council file to read more.
Curren D. Price, Jr.