NYC Provides Hotline to Help Cops Decide whom they Should Remove from the Streets and Provide Psychiatric Care
By Yehudit Garmaise
Refusing to ignore New Yorkers living on the street who “cannot meet their basic needs,” two months ago, Mayor Eric Adams empowered street outreach teams and police officers to bring people, “clearly struggling with mental health issues” to hospitals for psychiatric evaluations.
Pointing out that people who cannot take care of themselves by properly clothing, housing, or feeding themselves need help, the mayor changed the city’s policy on whom city workers can remove from the streets involuntarily.
Before November 2022, street outreach teams and police officers were only allowed to send New Yorkers for psychiatric care when they appeared likely to hurt themselves or others, but the mayor’s change in policy forced police officers to make judgment calls they often felt they were not trained to make.
After many NYPD officers found that they often weren’t sure which people warranted forcible removal from the city’s streets, subways, and other public spaces, City Hall launched a hotline cops can call to help them decide whether New Yorkers need immediate psychiatric evaluations.
A hotline staffed by mental health clinicians will “provide support and advise the police officers in real-time,” during their patrols, Jason Hansman, the deputy director of Mental Health Initiatives, Crisis Response and Community Capacity from the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health, said a City Council public hearing on Monday.