When we talk about defunding the police, we are emphasizing a dual investment. One investment area is in core needs like housing, food and education. The other investment area is in a wider range of more capable emergency responders.
Police show up and only hyper-escalate the situation, making matters worse. We need community interventionists that can pull up and de-escalate the situation.
While some people think of police, firefighters and paramedics as the only first responders, there are already many types of first responders in Los Angeles. We have community leaders who have established all kinds of programs from emergency crisis responders to homelessness support. But they need our investment to expand and serve as citywide models.
Alternative emergency response can include:
- Mobile mediators
- Community members and neighbors
- Violence disruptors
- Addiction recovery services
- Homeless services
- Mental health workers
- Social workers
- Specialized support and services for trans people (especially Black and Latina trans women)