Denver is looking into expanding the role of civilians when it comes to responding to certain kinds of calls- and it involves dispatching non-sworn personnel to potentially dangerous scenes.
DPD Chief Paul Pazen is exploring options that would involve sending a mental health professional and medic to “non-dangerous” calls related to the homeless, mental health and substance abuse.
“If we have a team of dedicated individuals with those types of backgrounds, we feel like we can have a positive impact on our most vulnerable population,” Chief Pazen told CBS4.
Pazen added that the funding for the paid positions would come from a few sources, including the Caring For Denver ballot initiative, which increased the city sales tax.
A similar program exists in Eugene, Oregon, and DPD personnel has been invited to observe the Oregon teams in order to learn how best to deploy them.
“We want this done right and we also recognize that there is a need right now, we are going to be working as quickly as possible to get this up,” Pazen said.
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