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Friday, June 19, 2020

Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu, Lydia Edwards, and Julia Mejia File Ordinance to Establish An Unarmed Community Safety Crisis Response System

Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu, Lydia Edwards, and Julia Mejia File Ordinance to Establish An Unarmed Community Safety Crisis Response System

Boston, MA— Today Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu, Lydia Edwards, and Julia Mejia have filed an ordinance that would establish an unarmed Community Safety crisis response system to divert nonviolent 911 calls for service away from the Boston Police Department to an alternative response from non-law enforcement agencies.  

As the deaths of George Floyd and many others have highlighted nationwide racial disparities related to public safety practices, local governments can respond by implementing a more holistic public safety infrastructure that is integrated with public health. 

The Boston Police Department routinely responds to nonviolent calls for service involving mental health, homelessness, substance use, and traffic crashes, which are matters beyond the scope of law enforcement’s function and would be better served by a public health response. 

The ordinance that Councilors Wu, Edwards and Mejia filed calls for the City of Boston to develop a systemic Community Safety crisis-response plan for nonviolent emergency calls within 90 days to directly connect people in need to City- or community-based service providers and replace law enforcement presence in nonviolent, non-criminal situations with a range of unarmed service providers, including health care professionals, mental health workers, outreach workers specializing in outreach to residents experiencing homelessness, and other unarmed professionals with specialized training.

The ordinance will appear on the agenda for discussion at the Boston City Council meeting on Wednesday, June 24th, at 12pm. The matter will be assigned to committee and scheduled for a hearing.

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