Portland expands unarmed emergency response program


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — People across Portland, Oregon, looking to help someone experiencing a mental health crisis have a new option: They can call 911 and ask for the Portland Street Response.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the unarmed emergency response program began serving people citywide on March 28.

The program, housed within the city’s fire bureau, dispatches a firefighter paramedic, a mental health crisis therapist and two community health workers to respond to emergency calls that don’t require a police response.

It was designed to provide better outcomes for people experiencing homelessness or a mental health crisis and reduce the heavy call load for the city’s public safety bureaus.


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