Community Groups Work to Provide Emergency Medical Alternatives, Separate From Police


[Jens] Rushing says that during his time as an EMT for [a] small Texas city, police officers were dispatched with him on almost every call, sometimes becoming unnecessarily confrontational and problematic – especially, he said, on calls in which patients were struggling with mental illnesses…

Though Rushing says there are occasions when having cops arrive first to secure the scene and guarantee paramedics’ safety can be useful, he says police can and do make unstable situations worse. He told Truthout he’s witnessed several officers physically and verbally abuse people while working closely with them in his role as an EMT…

Issues like the ones Rushing observed are leading some communities to find alternative solutions to traditional 911 first responders and emergency medical services (EMS), as means of minimizing contact with the police in tense and volatile situations. Organizers and activists across the country are working to build first-response models that rely on community members taking medical knowledge into their own hands – and often acting to prevent medical crises before they happen.

Source: Community Groups Work to Provide Emergency Medical Alternatives, Separate From Police

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