HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford is trying to take some of the burden off of police officers. The mayor is committing to creating a civilian crisis response team to handle certain 911 calls.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said, “Hartford is going to lead the way in building is civilian crisis response team.”
The mayor, along with city council members, announced that the city is creating a team of trained civilians to respond to certain calls for service related to issues like mental illness, emotional distress, trauma, and addiction.
The mayor told News 8 it will take some of the burden off of the police department and provide support to those in need.
“Our police routinely have to go on calls where they are addressing issues related to mental health, or emotional distress, trauma or addiction and in many of those cases officers might not be the best ones to respond first,” said Mayor Bronin.
In the next four years, the city of Hartford will commit $5 million to designing, building and scaling up a crisis response team.
Majority Leader Councilman, T.J Clark said, “We have heard the voices of the people in the community during these three weeks of protesting advocating for a change in the system.”
“We are taking the right steps in the right direction where police can now be a part of, but we can now create a team where we can crest assistance of care because that point is an opportunity to the folks that we serve and go out and seed to now be involved in further services,” said Councilman Nick Lebron.
“We believe that this is a time to commit ourselves to reform across-the-board. To push forward serious measures dealing with police accountability, and training and use of force policies but also to re-imagine public safety,” said Mayor Bronin.
He added that the civilian crisis response team could save both lives and money in the years ahead.