Over the last couple of weeks, this photo has been floating around the inner tubes with slightly different captions. One retired LEO told me it was a fictitious meme that highlighted the unrealistic expectations of allowing non-LEOs to do “their” job with only words. When I pointed out that mental health professionals and special ed teachers have been doing exactly that for quite a long time and that the meme did not hold law enforcement in a positive light, I got no response. Same thing from another poster after I pointed out the example of Camden, New Jersey, which has “defunded” the police now for decades.
So here’s another example, courtesy of CNN. Does CAHOOTS work everywhere? Probably not — every community will have their own particulars to work out — but it’s a much better starting point for meaningful discussion and reform than two smirking yahoos. What do you think?
UPDATE: In what has to be a rather misleading title, the Orange County Register has a story on efforts in Anaheim, California to implement the CAHOOTS program there. According to the paper, the Anaheim Police Department established a Homeless Outreach Team in 2013 in part to assist the homeless into housing to help alleviate crime by and upon homeless persons. Since 2013 and staffed by three uniformed officers, over 400 people were helped into some form of housing over those last eight years. The newly-formed Community Care Response teams helped 254 clients into housing in just their first three months of operation, and the police department has seen a 25 percent reduction in calls for service related to homeless individuals.
It should be noted that the officers previously assigned to the Homeless Outreach Team were not eliminated from the department, but were reassigned to another community services unit. You can read the whole story here.