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May 21, 2021

DC Pilot Program to Send Behavioral Health Experts to Mental Health Calls

In June, the District of Columbia will send unarmed behavioral health experts and peers to mental health calls as opposed to armed police officers. Behavioral health teams will be available from 6am to 6pm during the six-month pilot program with a goal to expand services to 24/7 by 2022. D.C. officials state this program is not aimed at police reform, but to provide better, needed, services to residents in the District. Members of the behavioral health team are to include clinicians as well as those that have struggled with psychological issues. Officials state, however, that in the event there are calls where a weapon is involved and/or someone’s life may be in danger, a police officer will be sent out with the behavioral health team member.