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The Alternative to Police That Is Proven to Reduce Violence: Why don’t more people trust it?

Mad In America: “San Francisco, which, unlike cities like Los Angeles and San Antonio, does not send cops out with its crisis response teams. The thinking is that counselors like Tautolo can more easily bridge the gap with neighbors who might be skeptical of a city-led effort. ‘The lived experience cannot be understated,’ says Kathleen Silk at San Francisco’s Department of Public Health. ‘The peer on our team can drive a lot of interactions that might otherwise be almost impossible to navigate.’

Prior to getting the job, Tautolo spent time unhoused; she says she views her clients today like her own family. If a person is having a breakdown, she often sits beside them, giving them space until they want to talk. She’ll offer some food, from granola bars to pineapple shortbread, to help them relax. During her first day on the job, she even sang a song for a client, a woman who’d been cursing out the other health workers but seemed drawn to Tautolo. After Tautolo finished a Samoan song, the woman apologized for her outburst. ‘Everyone loves Repa,’ says Fenderson, the behavioral health clinician on her team.”

Read the full story from Mother Jones.

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