Unarmed Response Program to Expand in LA, Mayor Garcetti Announces

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A program in Los Angeles that diverts nonviolent emergency calls away from police is expanding, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday.

The Crisis and Incident Response through Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE) program, will be in downtown, Lincoln Heights, the Northeast Valley and South Los Angeles beginning next year.

CIRCLE, which deploys trained and unarmed professionals rather than police to nonviolent 911 calls related to homelessness, launched in January and began as a pilot program in Hollywood and Venice.

“CIRCLE is about strengthening the human bonds that are essential to public safety, and using a nonviolent response to homelessness so that we can help, not punish, our most vulnerable Angelenos,” Garcetti said. “The expansion of this program will ensure that our unhoused neighbors are met with the compassion and care they deserve, and is another step toward our ultimate goal: ending homelessness in Los Angeles.”

The program received $8 million in this year’s budget for expansion. The crisis response teams consist of two outreach workers and a mental health clinician. The program also includes a call center, proactive outreach teams and decompression centers.

CIRCLE has responded to  more than 12,400 incidents since the program began, and over 2,300 calls have been diverted to the program.

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