Researchers: Portland shoud expand non-police response unit

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — After receiving positive reviews, experts say a non-police first-response unit in Portland, Oregon, has the potential to be a “citywide solution” for an alternative to non-emergency calls regarding people experiencing a mental health crisis or homelessness. On Tuesday during a City Council work session, researchers suggested the Portland Street Response team  pilot program should be expanded, following a Portland State University study that evaluated the program’s first six months. The Portland Street Response team — which is unarmed — is comprised of a mental health crisis therapist, firefighter paramedic and two community health workers who are dispatched to 911 calls regarding mental health crises or issues surrounding the homeless population.