How are you going to keep unarmed responders safe?

Keeping our responders and other people on the scene safe is a top priority of DCSD and we have taken time and care to plan our pilots to mitigate safety risks. Our safety plans include the following: 

  • We have selected eligible calls types where arrests, assaults, and violence are incredibly rare occurrences – less than 1% of 1%. 
  • We have excluded call types that would otherwise be eligible if a weapon is present or if there is physical violence toward others. 
  • Our responders are fully visible to 9-1-1. We will know where our responders are and will be able to communicate with them. 
  • Our responders will have radios and will be able to call for police backup, if necessary. 
  • Our responders will receive one month of intensive training prior to responding to calls, including training in situational awareness and de-escalation. 

Durham is not the first to dispatch unarmed responders to non-violent calls for service. For instance, Denver, CO has been doing so since 2020 and has responded to over 3,500 calls (common calls include trespass and welfare check) and have yet to call police for back up a single time. San Francisco, CA and Eugene, OR both dispatch unarmed responders who radio for backup on average 2% of the time – with none resulting in arrests or violence. 

Show All Answers

1. Why did the City start with “pilots”?
2. What is Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)?
3. What is a Community Response Team (CRT)?
4. What is Co-Response (CoR)?
5. What is a Care Navigator (CN)?
6. Where do these HEART units operate?
7. Why don’t all units operate citywide? Will they ever?
8. How did you select the service area and why use police beats?
9. What are the hours of operation for each pilot?
10. Why don’t units operate 24/7? Will they ever?
11. How did you select the hours of operation?
12. Will these new responses slow down 9-1-1 in sending a response as call takers have to learn about the new responses?
13. How are you going to keep unarmed responders safe?
14. Can I request one of these responses?
15. Is there a number other than 9-1-1 to request these services?
16. Why do I have to go through 9-1-1 to get an unarmed response?
17. What kinds of personnel are staffing these units, and what kinds of training have they had prior to starting with DCSD?
18. What kinds of additional training will DCSD staff have prior to responding to calls for service?
19. What kinds of calls for service are eligible for HEART and how did you select them?
20. How are these programs being evaluated?
21. How can I follow the progress of the HEART program?
22. How did you develop these pilot plans? Who did DCSD work with to plan?
23. Why did the City create the Community Safety Department?