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Pending Legislation To Further Promote CAHOOTS' Potential For Alternate Police Model

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Wyden Senate Office
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The CAHOOTS program is gaining further recognition as more and more cities review its potential as an alternative to traditional policing.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon told KLCC recently that he’s introducing legislation soon that will place greater emphasis on mental health, focusing on intervention models that don’t involve armed police officers.

“One of which I’ll be seeing in Lane County here...the CAHOOTS project," said Wyden. "That really looks to bring mental health and law enforcement folks together in a much more effective partnership."

"And as ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee I’ll be in a position to try to advance that and give it more opportunities to serve more people.”

A Wyden spokesman told KLCC that the Oregon senator is eyeing Medicaid dollars as one way to expand CAHOOTS-style mental health services.

“So as to have enough flexibility for CAHOOTS to continue their approach and other approaches around the country,” Wyden said.  He added such an approach is cheaper than having police respond to every mental health call.

Following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, the city council there mentioned CAHOOTS as an option. 

Other cities adopting a mobile crisis intervention model are Denver, Portland, and Victoria British Columbia.

CAHOOTS - which stands for Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets - began July 4, 1989. 

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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