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Sheila Carrillo: Policing Alternatives in Santa Cruz
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On Good News Santa Cruz, Thursday, January 7, 2021 Randa Solick talked with Sheila Carrillo about the powerful Santa Cruz movement to establish non-law enforcement alternatives to the vast majority of 911 emergency calls not requiring police presence. 

Sheila Carrillo, a resident of Santa Cruz County for almost 50 years, is an elder progressive activist and DSA member committed to equity and justice for the most vulnerable in our community. In this interview she will be talking about the strong movement in Santa Cruz to establish non-law enforcement alternatives to the vast majority of 911 emergency calls not requiring police presence.

You can sign a petition for Re-Imagining Public Safety here: Move-On Petition

NAMI presentation on Cahoots for mental health providers https://www.namiscc.org/news.html

Police Off Campus: Defund Police & End Police & ICE Presence at UCSC John Malkin interview for his KZSC Transformation Highway program:

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/08/12/18835887.php

Featuring kayla Kumar, Dr. Nikki Jones, Ben Adam Climer. Kayla at 47 minutes addressed S.C. criminal justice system in regard to race, class, mental health, and gender differences.  Link

Fact Sheet:  PUBLIC SAFETY IN SANTA CRUZ: CARE NOT COPS  ‘If someone could take the homeless issues entirely from us and stop us from responding to mental health calls—please, take the money!’ -SCPD Chief Andy Mills

Re-imagining and repurposing Public Safety in Santa Cruz

  • Resolve social service issues with immediate evaluation, care, and connection to services, bypassing the criminal justice system.
  • Four mobile crisis units (maximum cost @1.5 million each) could address all houseless calls, relieving the misplaced burden from police and fire departments.  
  • Cost-saving diversion from emergency room, ambulance, hospital, jail, involuntary holds. 
  • Millions of dollars freed up to invest in preventing 911 crisis calls—housing, substance abuse treatment, mental health programs.

Santa Cruz Grand Jury Report 2020 recommends: 

“establishing a program in Santa Cruz County modeled after the CAHOOTS program….would be beneficial to those receiving its services, as well as the County’s law enforcement and medical personnel. The BOS should work with City and the County law enforcement agencies to identify funding in their budgets, and launch a program similar to CAHOOTS to reduce the overall costs of homelessness to the County.”

You can sign a petition for Re-Imagining Public Safety here: Move-On Petition

SCPD Budget 

  • Police budget @ $31 million, 28.1% of the General Fund operating budget 2020
  • The SCPD responds to @100,000 calls a year at an average cost of @$300 per response.
  • In 2018 only 15.5% of SCPD calls were designated as crime related. 60% (7 calls an hour) related to unhoused, 20% were welfare checks.
  • Over $15 million dollars of SCPD funds in 2019 spent addressing calls re: homeless

An Alternative model to Police Response for nonviolent crises: CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets) Established in 1989, Eugene Oregon. Recommended for implementation in the 2020 Grand Jury Report for City of Santa Cruz!

  • Mobilizes two-person teams–a medic (a nurse, paramedic, or EMT) and a crisis worker trained and experienced in the mental health field at 1/3 cost of police dispatch.
  • Addresses and de-escalates non-violent mental health and social service-related crises calls, including houselessness, substance abuse, suicide prevention, domestic violence, and welfare checks. 
  • Last year, CAHOOTS took 17% of police calls on 2% of the PD budget, saving the city of Eugene approximately $8.5 million in public safety spending and $14 million in emergency room & ambulance costs.