|Date:||Apr 19, 2023|
|Topic(s):||Criminal Justice: Crime, Criminal Justice: General, Criminal Justice: Policing|
Surprisingly, most calls to 911 are not about emergencies or crimes. In 2019, over 95% of 911 calls handled by the Erie County Sheriff were noncriminal calls for service (e.g., accidents, alarms, nonviolent disputes, etc.). Violent crimes—including murder, forcible rape, and arson—made up just 1.3% of calls.
Right now, police officers respond to nearly all calls in Erie County—even when no crime has occurred. Instead, public health-related calls should be handled by healthcare professionals. When someone in desperation calls 911 due to mental health, substance use, homelessness, poverty, or other social or health needs, a community responder team of health professionals and peers should be dispatched. It’s time to start meeting public health needs with responsive, community-driven health care.