SIGN THE NOCAP PETITION
We are using a smart petition that sends an email to every city council member when you sign the petition to let them know that another Phoenix area resident is calling on them to establish a crisis assistance program that is fully funded, independent of law enforcement, and has direct community oversight.
SIGN UP TO COMMENT AT these BUDGET HEARINGs
City Councilmembers take these budget hearings seriously and we should too. We want everyone committed to establishing a NOCAP standard program to sign up to attend as many budget hearings as possible. You don’t have to live in the district to attend, but we do encourage that only people in the Metro Phoenix area sign up for budget hearings
Call City council, mayor gallego, and city manager zuercher
While we have a detailed letter with 18 demands for the Crisis Response Program, we know that you won’t be able to mention all 18 demands when you comment during the budget hearings. To make the full list of demands more manageable, you can just remember these three main talking points;
1) Independence from any other department
- People calling for assistance in crisis do not want a police response or any cooperation with law enforcement, including ICE.
Reporting crimes related to a mental health crisis undermines the purpose of the program. The goal of this program is to support people in times of crisis without the use of the criminal legal system.
The Fire Department is an inappropriate long-term home for this program because the culture and composition of the Fire Department staff and management. Politically, the Fire Department is closely aligned with the Phoenix Police Department. If the Crisis Response Program remains under the Fire Department, the Fire Chief will have control over the hiring process, protocols within the Crisis Response Program, and even influence over future budgets for this program.
Long-term, the Crisis Response Program needs to exist under a new independent city department, such as a Department for Public Health.
2) Community oversight and control
As we’ve seen with Phoenix City Council’s attempts to create the Office of Accountability and Transparency, the city can promise one vision of a department, then arbitrarily change that plan and disregard community input. We won’t just take the City Manager at his word. We want real community oversight and control
We are demanding real community control through an ad hoc committee made up of community members or a clearly stated ordinance that requires that the CAP program adopt all the demands listed in the NOCAP letter to City Council.
A program only made by bureaucrats in City Hall, with few details provided to the community, and no community input so far doesn’t deserve community support or trust
3) Secure and sufficient long-term funding
- Phoenix has made half-hearted attempts at emergency first-responder programs in the past. This is not a new idea. All of the previous attempts at a crisis response program failed because city officials were not committed to fully funding the program.
- Using surplus funds this year is not a secure long-term source of funding. Additionally, only $3.4 million for “ongoing” spending is not enough for a fully functional program that can respond to all the calls for mental health assistance. For comparison, the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon (a city with a population 1/10 the size of Phoenix) costs $2.1 million annually. Proportionately, the Phoenix crisis assistance program should cost around $20 million annually.
- The Crisis Assistance Program will respond to calls that currently go to the Phoenix Police Department. It makes sense that the money for the Crisis Assistance Program should come from the cost savings for PPD, now that officers have fewer calls for service. Operations should dictate budgets. If the Police Department has less work to do, they should receive less money.