Eugene, Ore. – As policing has become a center stage issue in national, and even international conversations, the collaboration between CAHOOTS and the Eugene Police Department has been lauded as a model for communities to emulate. This cooperative relationship reduces the number of instances where police are involved that can turn violent, by providing on-site crisis intervention resources. CAHOOTS supports the Eugene Police and Eugene Springfield Fire EMS mission by taking on social service-type calls for service that would otherwise use traditional emergency response resources.
In order to meet the current demand for service and remain well-positioned to respond to continued growth of calls for service in the future, EPD needs to add two new vans for CAHOOTS to continue reliable service delivery. United States Congressionally Directed Spending funds, with the assistance of Senator Ron Wyden, and Senator Jeff Merkley, came to the rescue with a $200,000 grant to EPD to purchase and equip two new vans for service by CAHOOTS Crisis Intervention teams in the community.
“By sending the right resources I can make the assumption that there are going to be fewer times when officers are in situations that can turn violent. It actually de-conflicts, reducing the need for use of force,” said Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner.
From 2014 to 2019, the demand for CAHOOTS services has doubled. Along with the increase in demand for CAHOOTS services, there has been a tremendous strain on the equipment used. Current CAHOOTS transit vans travel almost 40,000 miles per year and are in operation nearly 20 hours per day. This extremely high usage drastically reduces the useful life of the vans. The City has provided increased funding for crew hours over the last five years but lacks the resources to invest in additional vehicles. Likewise, the CAHOOTS program lacks the funding to invest in the purchase of additional vehicles. The congressional funds will be used to bridge that vital gap and ensure CAHOOTS has the vehicles they need to stay on the road.
The program is estimated to take about seven months due to a shortage of computer chips that has led to many transit vans being in a backorder status.
Get to know CAHOOTS:
CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is a mobile crisis intervention program staffed by White Bird Clinic personnel teams, consisting of a certified medic and a trained mental health crisis worker. The program is operated using City of Eugene vehicles. The relationship between the EPD and CAHOOTS has been in place for over 30 years and has proven to be a successful model of collaboration between law enforcement and crisis health services. The program has been proposed as a model for replication across the United States and in other countries.
CAHOOTS personnel often provide initial contact and transport for people who are intoxicated, mentally ill, or disoriented and provide assistance for necessary non-emergency medical care. As stated in a Case Study on CAHOOTS by Vera.org, the “CAHOOTS teams deliver person-centered interventions and make referrals to behavioral health supports and services without the uniforms, sirens, and handcuffs that can exacerbate feelings of distress for people in crisis. They reduce unnecessary police contacts and allow police to spend more time on crime-related matters. Eugene police may also request assistance if they arrive on-scene and determine that a CAHOOTS team can help resolve the situation.”
CAHOOTS INFORMATION AND STATISTICS
(Information directly from EPD)