Home Antioch Antioch Moves Towards Creation of 24-hour Health-Crisis Response Pilot Program

Antioch Moves Towards Creation of 24-hour Health-Crisis Response Pilot Program

By Accepting Report, City Can Begin RFQ or RFP Process to Hire Firm

by ECT

On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council approved unanimously approved a final report from Urban Strategies that could help begin the process towards implementing a pilot for the Antioch Care Team Program.

Within police reform, the council has been working since February 26, 2021 to consider alternative approaches to mental health in terms of police response for those individuals going through a mental health crisis.

Within the crisis response pilot, it aimed at reducing law enforcement engagement in when the call does not need police presence and places value on trauma-informed, de-escalation and harm reduction techniques.

David Harris, Consultant at Urban Strategies Council, explained to the council that this work is intended to be a guide for the city as they undertook this policy consideration regarding public safety.

“You all have all charged us with designing a non-police response model for low level 9-1-1 calls. Not every response that 9-1-1 is tasked with requires someone with a badge and a gun to show up,” said Harris. “Not only are the unintended consequences in many cases variety catastrophic for the individual involved, but it is also inefficient and in many cases are very stressful for the officers involved in the interaction.”

He noted that Antioch is one of the few cities in the nation looking at alternative police responses and take the leadership on addressing the issue.

Harris explained the project goal was to design a 24-hour health crisis response model for Antioch which would reduce non-warrant arrests that result during 9-1-1 response while also reducing the number of individuals transported to the emergency department for non-life threatening medical-related issues that could instead be addressed in pre-hospital care setting. Also, reduce the number of behavior health and lower acuity medical calls traditionally responded by police and fire.

Ann Jenks explained program staffing, The ACT Core program components would be 24-hours per day at 7-days per week with program staffing of 14.5 full-time employees. An EMT would also be included.

She said their recommendation would be to start off sending people on Priority Level 4 and Level 5 calls which are low level calls and priority level 3 based on dispatchers professional judgement and protocols.

A sample of the call situations that ACT may respond to includes:

  • Person drunk in public
  • Panhandling/Aggressive Panhandling
  • Disorderly juveniles – group
  • Auto Disturbance – noise, revving engine
  • Loud music – Noise complaint
  • Incorrigible juvenile
  • Confused/senile person
  • Family dispute
  • Incomplete 911 call
  • Public urination/indecent exposure (without criminal intent)
  • Wellness check
  • Subject down (typically a resident asleep in public)
  • Trespasser/unwanted person
  • Found syringe
  • Person screaming
  • Person needing referral to services w/o access to phone
  • People sleeping in vehicles and/or camping in public space

Jenks explained one everyone gets familiar working with one another the types of calls expand. She continued by saying there is constant evaluation and refinement—including dispatch training, call reviews, communications with police and education to the public.

Harris said for the implementation, they recommend a 1-year pilot that would begin after a vendor is selected—there is also an option of 2-years to collect more data.

“The most important part of a pilot length, this is a period for learning, an area for refinement and continued development of the model,” explained Harris. “This is innovation that is going to constantly needing some evaluation and monitoring.”

The estimated cost was $1.8 million to $2.2 million and the program startup could begin early summer of 2022 with full pilot implementation by September 2022.

Councilmember Tamisha Torres-Walker asked said there was no budget amendment request to fund this program at this point, but was this city staff or a non-profit costs.

Rosanna Bayon Moore, assistant city manager, said the cost was based on going out to bid to procure the services of an outside provider—the model is not staffing it with city personnel, rather working with an organization with prior experience and serve within the jurisdiction.

Harris explained the budget estimate was based on their experiences in work with similar design with City of Oakland and Cambridge Massachusetts. The city of Oakland did an RFQ versus an RFP where they went after qualifications and what resources they could bring to the table—such as an organization who already has clinical staff, space available or vehicles, or even bring additional funding through donations.

Torres-Walker stated she believed they should seek a RFQ to ensure they get the best of whom could provide.

Torres-Walker asked Interim Chief Tony Morefield if he foresaw any additional cost to the police department with this program.

“We have been supportive of this process since the onset, this is something we believe in and hope this will be a great success for the city,” said Morefield noting the only cost he saw was in terms of equipment would be police radios and staff training which could be built in already to the estimate.

Councilman Mike Barbanica made the motion to adopt the resolution to accept the final report from Urban Strategies. It was seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson.

Councilmember Lori Ogorchock stated she wanted to make sure they partner with the county with this going forward.

Mayor Lamar Thorpe stated he believed there was consensus that they did not want to adopt the county model, but wanted to adopt their own model.

Harris said they had met with the county staff and they are supportive of this.

The council then voted 5-0 to adopt the resolution.

Note – this was only the accepting of the report… they still have to go through RFQ/RFP process to hire firm, allocate funding then still implementation process.

per the report:

  • March 2021, the Antioch City Council took action directing the City Manager to begin establishment of a 24-hour health-crisis response model program for Antioch residents.
  • From 2018 to 2020, the Antioch Police Department (APD) received approximately90,000 911 calls for service per year. In 2020, 4,142 of the total calls were either for homelessness-related or mental health/drug-related issues. Of these calls,approximately 1,373 were categorized as potentially low-level calls.
  • The basic service of the ACT pilot is the deployment of well-trained teams that respond to a broad range of low-level calls and situations without police or other EMS personnel.At the center of the team are ACT core response staff consisting of a Community Response Specialist and Emergency Medical Technician. The ACT staff also includes a Project Director and small support staff. The pilot program projects a total of 14.5 FTE positions required for a 24/7 citywide pilot implementation

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Wasted Money Dec 16, 2021 - 6:31 am

This ridiculous program will fail faster than Lavar Thorpe on an IQ Test!

Oookkkaaayyy Dec 16, 2021 - 7:45 am

What a bunch of idiots! So, have they never watched any of those crime shows? The ones where people commit crimes they would most likely not commit when sober and yet they want to send a non law-enforcing person to these crimes? Yes, most on this list are crimes. Furthermore, people can be very violent when they are under the influence and it’s unsafe to NOT send an armed officer. What the hell are they going to do at a “found syringe” call? This city has been going downhill and it’s because of stupid ass decisions like these. Oh, and because there’s at least one criminal on our council. This is insane!

Robert C. Dec 16, 2021 - 11:46 am

Their consultant David Harris states that ” Antioch is one of the few cities in the nation looking at alternative police responses” and apparently intends that as a compliment. I’d say that it’s more likely a warning of how dangerous this concept can be – which is why so few cities pursue it.

How do the emergency dispatchers feel about their “professional judgment” being depended on to decide what kind of response to initiate to a 911 call? Has anyone even consulted them?

There’s nothing wrong with dispatching mental health workers along with police in these situations but there’s a lot wrong with dispatching mental health workers INSTEAD of police. Calls to 911 often involve incomplete or inaccurate information and they’re asking the dispatchers to make the decision on who to dispatch. It will be a disaster waiting to happen, and sooner or later it WILL happen.

STREET-SWEEPER Dec 16, 2021 - 2:32 pm

Why doesn’t Antioch just eliminate its police department at this point?

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