James calls for reduced police involvement in mental health, schools

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Attorney General Letitia James stated her support for reduced police involvement in mental health, schools and other roles.

James calls for reduced police involvement in mental health, schools

A new commission should reevaluate law enforcement's responsibilities, the attorney general said in a new report.
July 9, 2020

New York Attorney General Letitia James recommended that law enforcement’s role in mental health, schools, homeless outreach and traffic enforcement be reevaluated by a new commission in a new report released on Wednesday on the New York City Police Department’s response to protests spurred by the death of George Floyd.  

“Schools and social issues are beyond the scope and the training of the police,” she said on a call with reporters. 

A fully-staffed commission should be created to review how to remove armed police officers from situations that could otherwise be handled by “professionals with specialized training,” the report says. In particular, James’s report endorsed fully removing police from mental health response and traffic enforcement while stating that school safety agents “should be given special training on managing young people in crisis.”

Advocates for defunding the police and reinvesting in social services have encouraged little to no police involvement in such efforts, which they say could be better accomplished by mental health professionals, social workers and counselors. 

If a commission is created, the report recommended creating a roadmap to shift policing within a year with the ultimate goal of transitioning to a different approach by 2023. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.