The mass visibility of police-inflicted violence in our country has led to an increased demand for alternative options to calling the police in situations that require de-escalation rather than violence.
The concept of the police force (as we know it today) was created in the late 1930s as a means of providing public safety. However, these protections have only extended to a certain portion of the American public and the advent of social media has only made this dangerous discrepancy more apparent.
In June of 2020, during the largest civil rights protests in US history, “Don’t Call the Police” formed with the aim of providing an online directory of alternative options to calling the police and 911. Their website, dontcallthepolice.com provides easy access to local resources outside of law enforcement for situations that require emergency or crisis services. Spanning over 70 cities in the US, the organization ensures that its resources are vetted for their policies. If there are any circumstances that might lead to police involvement, dontcallthepolice.com remains transparent and always notes whether or not this might be a possibility.
On the national level, “Don’t Call the Police” provides myriad alternative resources for numerous situations that may require an emergency response outside of the police. These include resources for housing, LGBTQ+ individuals, mental health, domestic violence and sexual assault, youth, elders, crime and substance abuse. The organization’s website also states that their provided alternative resources can replace a police or 911 response because they are effective in situations that require immediate assistance through emergency or crisis services. However, the site also suggests that anyone who may be in danger of immediate harm should call 911 if they feel safe enough to do so.
For more information on the numerous alternative options that “Don’t Call the Police” offers, you can check out their website as well as follow their Instagram (@whocanicall), Twitter (@WhocanIcall) and Facebook (@whocanicall).