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Jackson County Aims For Non-Police Mental Health Response


"Defund the police" has become a trigger phrase for a lot of people, but the reactions obscure what a lot of people who use the phrase want: something other than police showing up when people are in mental health crisis.

Police freely admit they are generally not trained in mental health care, and jails are not good fits for people struggling with mental illness.

The Eugene-based CAHOOTS program (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is often held up as the model for an alternative to the police. Jackson County residents are working toward such a program, with partners including the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI-Southern Oregon.

Caren Caldwell from the group and Terrie Martin talk about the effort and where things stand, with further perspective from Rick Rawlins, Crisis and Outpatient Services Manager at Jackson County Mental Health.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.