Code of the District of Columbia

§ 1–327.54c. Alternative Responses to Calls for Service Pilot Program.

*NOTE: This section was created by emergency legislation with identical permanent legislation that will become effective in December, 2021.*

(a)(1) The Office shall, in coordination with the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice ("DMPSJ") and the Department of Behavioral Health ("DBH"), establish an Alternative Responses to Calls for Service Pilot Program ("Pilot Program") to dispatch non-law enforcement agency personnel and community-based responders to calls for service, including calls for service related to individuals experiencing:

(A) Behavioral health emergencies;

(B) Homelessness; or

(C) Substance use.

(2) The Pilot Program shall:

(A) Center a public-health approach to emergency response in its protocols, training, operations, and public engagement;

(B) Prioritize the diversion of calls for service away from a law enforcement response and towards District agencies or community-based organizations that employ unarmed practitioners or professionals, such as mental-health professionals and social workers; and

(C) To the extent possible, operate during non-business hours.

(b) With regard to the Pilot Program, the Office, DMPSJ, and DBH shall:

(1) Develop protocols for:

(A) Identifying and dispatching certain categories of calls for service; and

(B) Cross-training law enforcement personnel, non-law enforcement agency personnel, and community-based responders, including call-center employees;

(2) Conduct public education to build awareness and trust in the Pilot Program, including by developing branding, publicly accessible and lay-friendly educational materials, and strategic messaging about:

(A) The Pilot Program's purpose, goals, and operations; and

(B) Alternatives to calling 9-1-1 or dispatching law enforcement for certain categories of calls for service;

(3) By October 1, 2021, convene a working group of community-based experts and practitioners in alternative responses to calls for service, in addition to directly impacted individuals, to advise on the Pilot Program's development, training, operations, community engagement, and evaluation, including the District agencies, community-based organizations, or other entities to which individuals will be diverted pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(B) of this section; and

(4) By January 1, 2022, and every 3 months thereafter, publish, at a minimum, the following information on the Office's website:

(A) The members of the working group convened pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection;

(B) The Pilot Program's protocols for identifying and dispatching calls for service;

(C) The non-law enforcement agencies and community-based responders to which eligible calls for service are being dispatched; and

(D) Aggregated for that reporting period:

(i) The hours during which the Pilot Program operated;

(ii) A description of the Pilot Program's staffing internal and external to the Office and any training provided;

(iii) The expenditures for the Pilot Program, by purpose for the expenditure, amount, and source;

(iv) A list of the public events held, attended, and upcoming related to the Pilot Program;

(v) The number of calls for service eligible for diversion, broken down by day, period of time, and category of call for service;

(vi) Of those eligible calls for service identified under sub-subparagraph (v) of this subparagraph, the number of calls for service diverted, broken down by day, period of time, category of call for service, entity to which the calls for service were diverted, response time, the reason for any significant delays in response time, and outcome of the call for service, including whether anyone on the scene was:

(I) Taken into custody through arrest or other means, such as involuntary commitment;

(II) Sustained physical injuries during the response; or

(III) Connected to or provided supportive services, and the nature of those supportive services; and

(vii) Of those eligible calls for service identified under sub-subparagraph (v) of this subparagraph, if law enforcement was not initially dispatched in response to the call for service, whether the responding non-law enforcement agency personnel or community-based responders later requested a law enforcement response, and if so, the outcome of that request.