Richmond to train community members to respond to low-level 911 calls

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Richmond aims to train community members to respond to low-level 911 calls
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Trained community members could begin responding to certain low-level 911 calls in Richmond, as well as to calls into the non-emergency number, as part of a new program being developed by residents and officials.

The city has released a survey (take the survey here) to help design Richmond’s so-called Community Crisis Response Program. The new community-based response system will focus on harm reduction strategies that better serve residents in need and enable traditional emergency responders to focus on violent crimes and serious crises.

Urban Strategies Council (USC), a nonprofit research and social justice organization, is supporting the effort by learning from Richmond residents’ experiences with the emergency response system, community crises, and community needs.

The need for a better emergency response in the community comes in the wake of actions by the Richmond Progressive Alliance-dominated City Council to defund the Richmond Police Department. From 2014 through last year, the RPD saw a 26 percent reduction in sworn officers.