Race and policing
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Approximately 240 million calls are made to 911 every year in the United States. Only a small fraction of these calls are for serious or violent crimes. Even in communities with high homicide rates such as Baltimore, Camden, New Haven, and New Orleans, fewer than 4 percent of 911 calls are related to violent crimes. Instead, the majority of these calls are related to incidents of disorderly conduct, noise complaints, suspicious people or cars, mental health issues, substance use, and homelessness.Programs that deploy public health professionals and crisis workers to situations involving mental health, substance use, and homelessness—referred to as alternative dispatch programs—offer an emerging solution that can save lives and provide critical services to those in need. Alternative dispatch programs utilize first responders who are specifically trained to resolve the emergencies that most commonly arise in communities with methods that address root problems and minimize the risk of force or deeper involvement with the justice system. These programs provide communities with a critical means for addressing crises, while also freeing police to focus on preventing and solving serious crimes.
The Denver Police Department (DPD), Denver Public Schools (DPS), and community organizations in the Denver area have built a collaborative approach to school safety and positive youth development designed to combat the school-toprison pipeline. Together, these organizations advocate a comprehensive approach to safety in which schools' disciplinary policies avoid removing students from the classroom, social service providers are substantively included in ongoing safety efforts, and students within the juvenile justice system are included in youth engagement efforts. The goals are to establish positive relationships between students, faculty, school staff members, and school resource officers; prioritize student wellbeing; and involve police only as a last resort following efforts to de-escalate conflict.Early indicators show that Denver's approach is working: In the last five years, rates of student suspension, expulsion, and referral to law enforcement have declined despite a 6 percent increase in total student enrollment over the same period. From the 2012–2013 school year to the 2014–2015 school year, district-wide in-school suspensions declined by 35 percent, out-of-school suspensions by 15 percent, expulsions by 32 percent, and referrals to law enforcement by 30 percent. What's more, the total number of behavioral incidents reported to DPS declined by 9 percent over the same period, indicating that the number of potential safety risks to students has decreased following changes in policy and practice.Viewing these efforts holistically, this report identifies a number of promising practices and lessons learned thatpractitioners, policymakers, and researchers may consider when engaging with students around the country