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First Reponders that Offer "A Range of Responses that Fit the Problem"

Kansas City, MO > Public Health Access
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006673e9e08c9af43a21975b652e50a9?d=mm Quoleshna Elbert

Proposed Jun. 25, 2020

I propose recreating the Kansas City Police Force to include varying roles: Law Enforcement Officers alongside Mental Health professionals, Mediators and professionals with similar skillsets--with each role holding equal value for how they contribute to the health of the community whom they've all committed to serve & protect. The community needs ready access to all of these roles, the lack of which is sorely felt. We should then invest in cross-training across departments in order to promote inter-departmental teamwork & respect in this new force. Most importantly, add regular training in (and policy upholding) de-escalation techniques for all members of this police force. Someone once told me that multiple officers who were trained in de-escalation techniques later confessed that that training ended up saving lives. 

As big of a task as it may sound--and as challenging (and challenged) as it may be--recreating a police force has been done before, and the aftermath warrants attention from those who deeply care about the well-being of our community: 

This proposal goes one step further in that our police force, itself, would be formed upon our placing equal value on all of the roles needed to profitably meet urgent situations in our communities.

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Sandra Rashke-smith (06/26/2020)
No need to recreate, do need additional personnel who are specifically trained in areas of social services not specifically law or law enforcement in sub segments of department who are part of the responding team. Their pay and status should equal their qualifications, education, and experience.

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Quoleshna Elbert (06/27/2020)
I considered that, as well. I advocate "recreating" because I've found that, with broken things, it's more reliable to start anew than to try to make something be what it was never intended to be. The current structure of policing is just an extension of an approach to justice that research has shown is applied in a disproportionate--and seemingly biased--manner throughout its different formats (from policing to prosecution and beyond). So we need to rethink what our goals are for the outcomes achieved from first responders and rebuild from there vs trying to adapt an approach that is broken. Minneapolis is apparently taking steps toward realizing a similar approach, as well: https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-protests-for-racial-justice/2020/06/26/884149659/minneapolis-council-moves-to-defund-police-establish-holistic-public-safety-forc

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