But how could they know that a non-violent call won’t end up violent?
BPR: A police department in one Florida city is making major changes to how non-violent emergency calls will be handled.
The St. Petersburg Police Department announced that members of a newly-created “social service agency” will now be responding to calls dealing with issues like suicides, drug overdoses and mental health concerns. Chief of Police Anthony Holloway and Democratic Mayor Rick Kriseman announced the changes in a news release on Thursday.
“Change is coming to St. Pete Police Department,” Holloway said during a Thursday press conference, explaining that the police department had had discussions with various faith and community groups, as well as protesters and union officials in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
“After all those conversations, we had one common goal. That common goal is very simple: Our citizens are asking for change. The City of St. Petersburg and the police department is ready for that change,” he said.
The new program, which is scheduled to take effect on October 1, was made possible by reallocating funds that were initially meant to hire 25 new officers to the department. Instead, the police department “will lose $3,125,000 in federal grant funding awarded to pay for the new officers and $3,800,000 the City had earmarked in matching funds required by the grant,” according to the press release. more