As thousands of people take to the streets in California and across the nation to protest and grieve the death of George Floyd and other black lives extinguished during encounters with law enforcement, protestors are calling for the billions that cities and counties spend on police agencies to be redirected to community health-focused strategies and organizations that can take on responsibilities currently held by law enforcement. Thus, it’s no surprise that AB 2054, a CA bill that would move the state a step toward that objective, is swiftly gaining public support. In less than a week, more than 3,200 people have submitted statements calling on the state Assembly to approve the bill.
AB 2054, the Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems (CRISES) Act would put community organizations in the role of first responder for certain calls involving homelessness, mental health, domestic abuse, and other situations that the bill’s supporters say would be better served by community-based response teams centered on culturally appropriate, trauma-informed, and relationship-building services.
“Without appropriate responders, we send in the police,” the bill’s author, Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager said in a Tweet. “No system to support [people] in mental health crisis? Send the police.”