An Alternative to Police That Police Can Get Behind

A street-level view of White Bird Clinic's CAHOOTS program in Eugene explains its appeal as a cost-saving, humane alternative to sending the police to 911 calls concerning mostly minor problems involving homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse. From the decades-old program's countercultural beginnings to today's 24/7 presence, the private agency's publicly funded teams of a medic and crisis worker have helped keep problems from escalating into violence and jail time. But a number of factors call into question how scalable this approach would be in larger, more diverse cities.

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