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Rebecca Kaplan Oakland Councilmember Wants In-House Civilian Responders For MACRO Program

Rebecca Kaplan Oakland Councilmember Wants In-House Civilian Responders For MACRO Program - Video

Rebecca Kaplan Oakland Councilmember Wants In-House Civilian Responders For MACRO Program Community support is growing to provide civilian responders for mental health and other similar calls - in partnership with our fire department (MACRO). Our proposal to do so is on the Oakland City Council agenda March 2, 2021. It’s below. Dear Colleagues on the City Council and Members of the Public, Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland). Prior press coverage of this has noted: Oakland didn’t just rush to adopt MACRO following the nationwide protests in response to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier this year. In fact, the pilot program is the product of years of grassroots research and advocacy. “We need to have a mental health response for mental health needs,” said Kaplan. “Sending someone who has a gun and doesn’t have mental health training makes no sense. If someone was having a mental health crisis and we sent a plumber, people would be like, ‘Why are you doing this?’” In addition, it has been pointed out that: “It’s about humanizing the human condition, rather than criminalizing it,” said Cat Brooks. “Understanding what got you to that place, what are the conditions that ended you up in that place, how we can avoid those things and then what is the long-term path of healing for you.” I urge that we undertake implementation of civilian responders to help protect the health and safety of our community, through the use of a method with endurance, effectiveness, accountability and transparency, with in-house positions. Oakland City Council March 2, 2021 File # 21-0126 In order to improve responsiveness to the public, and the handling of a variety of cases such as those involving mental health needs, there is growing recognition of the value and effectiveness of providing for civilian responders. In Oakland, grassroots community members have been advocating for this for several years, and we worked together to include funding to work toward this goal in our 2019 budget. In the intervening time, public support and data in support of these programs has increased, and other jurisdictions have launched such programs. Oakland’s initial analysis included looking at the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon and others, and has led to a proposed program for Oakland. The Oakland City Council previously approved taking action to work toward doing the Mobile Assistance Community Responders Of Oakland (MACRO) Program with City Of Oakland civilian employees as provided in Resolution No. 88433 CMS. I believe the immediate creation of in-house staff civilian response positions for MACRO is in the best interest of the city and aligns with the interests of labor, community, and health leaders in the City of Oakland. On December 15, 2020, my resolution to pursue the option for in-house hiring process for MACRO was adopted by Council (88433 CMS). This resolution directed the City Administrator and his designees to begin the process of reviewing options for the creation of Oakland City staff civilian response positions for the MACRO Program pursuant to Resolution No. 87759 C.M.S. and report back to Council. FEASIBILITY AND SUPPORT OF AN IN-HOUSE PROGRAM The creation of in-house Oakland City staff civilian response positions is feasible and would ensure the expansion and sustainability of the program beyond the launch. Through keeping MACRO in-house, the City would have oversight of the program and have the ability to monitor compliance. An example of how to successfully expeditiously implement a MACRO-like program and manage it in- house can be found across the Bay in San Francisco. This past November, San Francisco launched the first phase of its Street Crisis Response Team (SCRT) pilot program These new teams, which consist of a community paramedic, a behavioral health clinician, and a behavioral health peer specialist, respond to 911 calls that SFPD previously answered regarding people experiencing behavioral health crises. The goal is for additional teams to be phased in and operate citywide, 7 days per week and up to 24 hours a day, which will allow them to respond to approximately 17,000 calls for service per year, the equivalent to the number of non-violent “mentally disturbed person” calls to which the Police Department currently responds. The program is a collaboration between the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Fire Department with significant support from the Department of Emergency Management. The San Francisco Police Department is also a key partner in the transition of certain types of 911 calls to the new teams. Labor and community leaders and stakeholders in Oakland strongly support having the MACRO program in-house.
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