Mental health professionals paired with paramedics will replace cops on some Chicago 911 calls in a first for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s troubled city.
The Chicago Times reports in one future pilot program, a paramedic will be dispatched alongside a mental health clinician for “behavioral health calls.”
In another, a paramedic will work with a “recovery specialist” on calls involving substance abuse.
The response restructure comes as Chicago Police pension board figures reveal more cops have left the force so far in 2021 than did in the whole of 2018.
In total, 363 officers retired between January and June compared to 339 in 2018, as crime continues to soar across the city.
The number of homicides and shootings in Chicago spiked dramatically in 2020, ending with more bloodshed than in all but one year in more than two decades, as Breitbart News reported.
After three years of falling homicide totals, 2020 ended with 769 homicides — 274 more than the previous year and the most since the 784 homicides in 2016.
Last year ended with 4,033 shooting victims compared with 2,598 the year before.
Mental health clinicians feel the new arrangements can offset those front line loses and casualties as they will be on hand at the 911 center to monitor situations.