For months, protesters and advocates have made the argument that police officers shouldn’t be handling calls involving mental health issues on their own. City Council member John Dingfelder has been listening. Last week, at the city’s first public budget hearing, Dingfelder, a citywide member, proposed that the city funnel $1 million to efforts to bolster and, perhaps, supplant police response to people in mental distress.
Dingfelder points to Eugene, Oregon, where the city contracts with mental professionals to either ride along with the police or go out in pairs without police, he said. That system has saved money and reduced violent interactions between police and residents, he said.Tampa Bay Times