Columbus group proposes no police in mental health crisis responses

Columbus Safety Collective held a public meeting Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church, Downtown, to present its proposal for an alternative mental health crisis response program that does not involve Columbus police.

Members of the Columbus Safety Collective want the city of Columbus implement an alternative emergency response program, one that does not involve police in a crisis response.

The city currently has programs aimed at providing alternative responses and reducing Columbus police responses, but Columbus Safety Collective organizer Alwiyah Shariff said his group believes current measures don’t address true crisis situations.

“The alternatives that currently exist in the city of Columbus do not address this need for non-police teams to respond on scene when someone needs help,” Shariff said during a public meeting of the collective on Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church at East Broad and Third streets, Downtown.

“We want the city to invest in a public safety system that our neighbors can rely on and trust, that makes decisions based on evidence, and is accountable to the community,” Shariff said. The group, according to its Facebook page, “exists to create an anti-racist, health-centered emergency response program” for Columbus that does not involve police. 

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