When facing situations that we don’t feel we can handle on our own, we are taught that the only support available to us is to call the police.
Let’s instead prohibit police from enforcing a range of non-serious offenses, including issuing fines and making arrests for non-dangerous behaviors, thus eliminating many of the unnecessary interactions between the police and community members that in too many communities lead to violence and sometimes deaths.
Instead of relying on police, we could have:
- Urgent response teams that can respond to someone in a mental health crisis and connect them with services.
- Metro service patrol workers who could pull drivers over for things like broken tail lights or other potential hazards and help with simple repairs so everyone can get home safely.
- City employees who perform wellness checks on people sleeping in parks, connecting them to services or housing if needed.
- Trauma-informed crisis intervention teams trained to de-escalate people doing harm and connect them to services.
- Community-based transformative and restorative justice processes that address the root causes of harm and violence.
Tom Ard, Oak Park