Unarmed social workers, not police, will now respond to some 911 calls in Albuquerque

by Laura Mize · Jun 16th, 2020 11:56 am

The city of Albuquerque will no longer have police officers respond to specific 911 calls, Mayor Tim Keller announced Monday.

Instead, a civilian group called Albuquerque Community Safety will respond to calls about homelessness, intoxication, mental health, drug use, and addiction. The group will consist of housing and homelessness specialists, social workers, and violence prevention coordinators, none of whom will be armed.

"We've placed more and more issues on the plates of officers who are not trained," Keller said Monday, "despite their best efforts and despite some training — they're not totally trained to be a social worker, or to be an addiction counselor, or to deal with things around child abuse when they're just answering a call. We should have trained professionals do this, instead of folks with a gun and a badge."

Albuquerque Chief of Police Mike Geier told the Washington Post that the city's police officers are "relieved" by this shift of duties to another entity. He also said the move "is the solution" for police departments that are unable to meet all the demand placed upon them.


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