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A new study shows benefits to dispatching mental health specialists in nonviolent 911 emergencies

June 8, 2022


As U.S. cities rethink the role of law enforcement in nonviolent 911 emergencies, new Stanford research uncovers the strongest evidence yet that dispatching mental health professionals instead of police officers in some instances can have significant benefits.

The study of a pilot 911 response program in Denver, in which mental health specialists responded to calls involving trespassing and other nonviolent events, finds a 34% drop in reported crimes during the six-month trial. The study by Stanford scholars Thomas Dee and Jaymes Pyne also shows that the direct costs of the alternative 911 approach were four times lower than police-only responses.

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