As Minneapolis Moves To Scrap Its Police Department, CAHOOTS May Become New Response Model

Jun 8, 2020

A Eugene crisis-intervention service may become the template for the justice reform called for by Black Lives Matter activists. KLCC’s Brian Bull explains.

In this February 2018 photo, a CAHOOTS team and pair of EPD officers talk to a woman who was refusing to leave a motel room. She left with the CAHOOTS team and found temporary shelter.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

For more than 30 years, CAHOOTS has dispatched teams specialized in mental health counseling and medical training to people in distress, including many homeless. Their work has been praised for alleviating the burden of police, allowing them to focus on actual crimes.

Now after the death of an African-American man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis, that city's leaders say they’ll dissolve the department and create a new public safety agency. And CAHOOTS is being cited as a model.

CAHOOTS operations coordinator, Tim Black:

"There’s an opportunity to really talk about how cities can provide compassionate response and really look at what types of situations actually need a uniformed, armed officer to respond, and what types of situations could be resolved by a different type of presence, a different type of response.”

CAHOOTS is a service of White Bird Clinic. It stands for Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.