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LA City Council is looking to speed up plans for an unarmed response team after LAPD deaths

Three Los Angeles City Council members are seeking to expedite creation of an Office of Unarmed Response following the recent deaths of three men in encounters with Los Angeles Police Department officers.

The council asked for reports in October 2022 on creating the office, which would streamline response to non-violent situations with a services-led approach rather than armed police officers. Original talks of the program included the need to help treat mental health and substance abuse issues with the appropriately skilled responders.

Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Bob Blumenfield filed a motion on Tuesday seeking to appropriate $1 million toward immediately creating and staffing the office.

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, in a separate motion, called for the expansion of the LAPD's Mental Evaluation Unit and Domestic Abuse Response Team. The Mental Evaluation Unit is only deployed to one-third of mental health-related calls, and Domestic Abuse Response Team may not be deployed to all relevant calls because of availability, according to Rodriguez's motion.

It was reported that the original October 2022 proposal was supported by LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore.  City Council members noted unarmed crisis responders would free up armed police officers for other calls and crime deterrent efforts and that a systemic crisis response plan would deploy trained professionals to nonviolent and noncriminal situations rather than law enforcement. 

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