Other U.S. cities are building confidence in the new types of first responses that Durham plans to pilot, by sending unarmed responders to 9-1-1 calls and showing this can be done in a way that meets the needs of those in crisis and is consistent with the safety of all involved, including the responders. You can find successful alternative response programs operating in cities across the U.S. that are similar to each DCSD pilot.
So, why pilot?
The most important reason to start small is so that we can learn how to do this well here in Durham. While others are seeing success with these new approaches to crisis response, there is still a lot to learn and figure out. For example, cities have different eligibility criteria and different staffing models. By calling these pilots, we mean that we do not believe we have everything figured out at the outset. By starting small and paying close attention to the data, we can learn what approaches work best before scaling them citywide and 24/7. In this way, we intend to refine and make changes to these models to best meet the needs of Durham residents.