Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[flagged] Denver's STAR program removes police from low-level 911 calls (denverite.com)
50 points by evo_9 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 15 comments

This makes perfect sense to me as in, dispatch the EMTs and firefighters to fires and medical emergencies, dispatch the cops to incidents with an elevated risk of violence, and send unarmed specialists to everything else. And let them all back each other up as needed.

On the other hand this stuff makes no sense at all:

> “To abolish police we need serious affordable housing. We need food programs,” he said.

So people with homes and food don't commit crimes? That's contrary to my experience. And a call to abolish the police is just a call for the return of warlords, where the most belligerent and violent thugs make the rules. For all the problems we've got, that's not a step forward.

> So people with homes and food don't commit crimes?

This position isn't advanced anywhere in the article, and certainly not by the excerpt you quoted.

If the system doesn't work for the people then they won't want to work with the system.

Food/shelter/inequality all drive that wedge and the sooner we bring things back to a balance the sooner we can work to fix our systemic problems.

> most belligerent and violent thugs make the rules

So, you mean exactly like right now?

I would not call 911 unless I judged that I needed either the cops or an ambulance and I'd be pretty pissed if a couple hippies in a van showed up.

People trained to manage substance abuse or mental health crises are hippies for you?

Don't you think a crew of people that know how to manage mental health crisis will do much better than police officer to manage mental health crisis?

911 isn't a personal concierge, it exists to take calls from people in urgent need of assistance and dispatch the correct help to them. If my house is broken into, why does the person who takes my statement so I can file an insurance claim need to be armed? If there's an accident on the highway, why do the people directing traffic while the EMTs and firefighters work need to be armed? The point of programs like this is to acknowledge that currently the police fill many roles - too many roles in fact - and those duties should be split out to other specialists.

I agree with a lot of this in principle, but there are additional factors at play when it comes to police scheduling and deployment. Serious crime isn't evenly distributed over time, so a police force has to have enough armed officers available on duty to handle spikes in demand. Statistical modelling is getting better, but the failure scenario here of "oh sorry, we couldn't respond to your home invasion for an hour because we were busy" is absolutely unacceptable to the general population. Here's an example of this, where the police were pilloried by the media (https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2020/09/intruder-with-knife...). On a typical quiet day though, those officers will end up handling lower severity incidents to keep busy, by taking statements, directing traffic, etc. Just like all redundancy, this looks wasteful until you suddenly need it in a low probability event.

> [STAR] helped shepherd a pilot project into existence that’s now diverting some 911 calls away from armed officers to an unassuming van manned by a Denver Health paramedic and a social worker from the Mental Health Center of Denver.

In other words, non-violent (or incidences that for sure won't involve the use of physical or deadly force) can go to somebody besides the police. It's a great idea, and I bet police officers would love this as well.

> “Policing has always been about keeping down marginalized people, from its origins, and that has included Black folks and other folks not considered ‘white’ and poor people,” Bliss said. “You cant have racial justice without economic justice.”

This is an extremely reductive and strange quote to me. If you really believe this, I suggest you do a ride-along with a police officer someday. Spend a few hours with them. You'll find out first hand what they are asked to do.

> This is an extremely reductive and strange quote to me. If you really believe this, I suggest you do a ride-along with a police officer someday. Spend a few hours with them. You'll find out first hand what they are asked to do.

It's possible the police behave differently when they have someone there to observe them than when they don't.

You can remove all speculation from your mind about what police officers do during the day by simply requesting a ride with them. If the stakes are high what do you have to lose?

You might be surprised at the types of calls they respond to. We ask police to crawl through the sewers of our society and then complain that they smell like crap.

You're missing the point, which is the cop you ride along with may behave differently if he or she knows there is someone (you) observing them.

This isn't pure speculation - a study by Rialto PD showed use of body worn cameras reduced use-of-force incidents by 59% [1]

[1] https://bja.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh186/files/media/docu...

For sure police officer are not asked to "keep down marginalized people". But how law is designed and is currently "enforced" by police, how police is recruited trained managed (not) sanctioned... have different effects than just what a police officer perceived he is asked to do...

Whenever I see “folks” used that way a in cultural piece I’ve learned to toon out. problematic is another good one to use.

Why is this flagged?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact