Columbus group suggests no police response to mental health crises

Members of the Columbus Safety Collective want the city of Columbus to implement an alternative emergency response program that does not involve police in crisis response.

The city currently has programs aimed at providing alternative responses and reducing police responses in Columbus, but Columbus Safety Collective organizer Alwiyah Shariff said his group believes current measures don’t address real crisis situations.

“The alternatives that currently exist in the city of Columbus don’t meet that need for non-police teams to respond on the scene when someone needs help,” Sharif said during a public meeting of the collective Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church in East Broad and Third Streets, Center.

“We want the city to invest in a public safety system that our neighbors can rely on and trust, that makes decisions based on evidence and is accountable to the community,” Sharif said. The group, according to its Facebook page, “exists to create an anti-racist, health-oriented emergency response program” for Columbus that does not include the police.

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