Denver’s STAR program has successfully sent mental health professionals, not police, to hundreds of calls

Denver's STAR program has successfully sent mental health professionals, not police, to hundreds of calls

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FILE – STAR Clinicians stand outside of STAR Van.

DENVER – Calls to change the way authorities respond to people in distress have resounded across the country amid cases such as that of Daniel Prude, a black man who died after police in Rochester, put a spit hood over his head and pinned him to the ground as he went through a mental health crisis in March.

Chief Paul Pazen of the Department of police de Denver said the changes that are leading mental health people to answer calls that warrant such skills are common sense.

“I saw the value from the start. If we’re talking about calls for mental health services, low-level mental health services that don’t need police answer, then let’s look and see if there are better approaches, ”Pazen said.

RELATED: Mental Health Awareness Built Into Milwaukee Classrooms

“At first glance, the common sense behind this is right in front of you. Free police agents to focus on police let’s work, let’s put clinicians, mental health clinicians, allied health professionals, let’s focus them on the areas for which they are best equipped …

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