Mental health activists demand non-police responses to 911 calls for mental help

Many organizations and mental health activists gathered in Marble Hill on Martin Luther King Day to demand an option for non-police response to 911 calls for mental help.

News 12 Staff

Jan 20, 2020, 10:40 PM

Updated 1,584 days ago

Share:

Many organizations and mental health activists gathered in Marble Hill on Martin Luther King Day to demand an option for non-police response to 911 calls for mental help.
Groups joined at Stephen's United Methodist Church for a talk on the concerns. Attendees say that they are not happy with how they feel the NYPD interacts with people who have mental health issues, particularly with regard to the emergency system that the city has in place.

They say if someone is going through a psychiatric crisis, the 911 dispatcher almost always sends police officers.

The activists claim they've learned from experience that the police response tends to range from being an inappropriate and inadequate to being hazardous to the person who needs help and their loved ones present at the time.

They add that this leads to harm, unnecessary incarceration, or sometimes even death.

"This is a group of people who are coming together to call for a different response and to bring pressure on the city's policymakers to put in place a different response, where instead of the 911 dispatcher sending the cops, the dispatcher has enough information about mental health professionals and mediation specialists across the city, so they send mental health professionals instead,” says Bob Gangi, director of the Police Reform Organizing Project.

Meanwhile, the NYPD says it works in tandem with its community partners to offer quick and effective aid to those with emotional difficulties, saying in a statement:

"In today's NYPD, every officer receives elemental training in the fundamentals of responding to calls for individuals in crisis, and a majority of our officers have been certified in our specialized crisis intervention team training. Our officers are now better trained and equipped than ever before to identify persons experiencing mental health issues and to effectively communicate with them."


More from News 12
2:02
STORM WATCH: Thunderstorms likely for Thursday followed by more summer-like heat

STORM WATCH: Thunderstorms likely for Thursday followed by more summer-like heat

1:52
Crotona Park prepares to host Donald Trump in historic rally

Crotona Park prepares to host Donald Trump in historic rally

0:45
Charter school fires teacher who had inappropriate relations with student

Charter school fires teacher who had inappropriate relations with student

1:51
NYPD hopes to reduce number of shootings by spreading gun violence awareness

NYPD hopes to reduce number of shootings by spreading gun violence awareness

1:52
Public elementary school starts program in effort to prioritize student mental health

Public elementary school starts program in effort to prioritize student mental health

2:07
Officials begin enforcing new time limit rules on asylum seekers in NYC shelters

Officials begin enforcing new time limit rules on asylum seekers in NYC shelters

0:53
Mayor Adams' office responds to FBI investigation

Mayor Adams' office responds to FBI investigation

1:51
Orchard Beach set to open for swimming amid lifeguard shortages as Memorial Day weekend nears

Orchard Beach set to open for swimming amid lifeguard shortages as Memorial Day weekend nears

0:43
36th Fleet Week kicks off in NYC with Salute to Ships at Fort Hamilton

36th Fleet Week kicks off in NYC with Salute to Ships at Fort Hamilton

0:52
Bronx high school students meet with engineering nonprofit in special lab day

Bronx high school students meet with engineering nonprofit in special lab day

1:42
NYPD: Moped driver critically injured in crash into 46-year-old woman on Grand Concourse

NYPD: Moped driver critically injured in crash into 46-year-old woman on Grand Concourse

0:19
Authorities arrest Bronx man in fatal Washington Heights stabbing

Authorities arrest Bronx man in fatal Washington Heights stabbing

1:55
UA Local 1 to offer 5-year paid apprentice program for plumbers for 1st time in 2 years

UA Local 1 to offer 5-year paid apprentice program for plumbers for 1st time in 2 years

0:21
NYPD: 2 men wanted breaking into Taco Bell in South Bronx, stealing $500

NYPD: 2 men wanted breaking into Taco Bell in South Bronx, stealing $500

0:22
Police: Woman wanted for pepper spraying Bronx bus driver

Police: Woman wanted for pepper spraying Bronx bus driver

2:42
Garden Guide: This is why you should grow Geraniums this summer

Garden Guide: This is why you should grow Geraniums this summer

0:14
Search on for missing 80-year-old last seen on Melrose Avenue on Monday

Search on for missing 80-year-old last seen on Melrose Avenue on Monday

1:46
FDNY: Commercial strip fire extinguished in Wakefield; 4 firefighters with minor injuries

FDNY: Commercial strip fire extinguished in Wakefield; 4 firefighters with minor injuries

1:05
Nurse practitioner offers tips to decrease high blood pressure during High Blood Pressure Education Month

Nurse practitioner offers tips to decrease high blood pressure during High Blood Pressure Education Month

Power & Politics: Ask Mayor Eric Adams

Power & Politics: Ask Mayor Eric Adams