NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On Monday afternoon, the Crisis Intervention Strategy Task Force (CISTF) held its first meeting to begin building out a citywide effort to reimagine emergency response in New Orleans.
The CISTF, created by City Council President Helena Moreno, was tasked with building a strategy to enact Crisis Intervention teams in New Orleans through thorough engagement with the community and public safety stakeholders.
As described in the task force legislation, its purpose is to “provide recommendations concerning the implementation of a crisis response program for Orleans Parish.”
“The community has been clear about their desire to see mental health and substance abuse emergencies addressed through compassionate care, not through the criminal legal system,” said Council President Moreno. “We need to meet these challenges with the appropriate response and lend help where it is truly needed. What’s more, these types of crisis response programs successfully save money and help us focus our limited law enforcement resources where they’re needed most.”
The Council has directed the CISTF to complete three specific responsibilities within a six-month timeline from its initial meeting:
- Engage stakeholders and the community;
- Inform a strategic policy framework through research on the current state of Orleans Parish emergency response to behavioral health and substance abuse crises
- [most importantly] Develop specific legislative recommendations to effectuate a health crisis intervention program here in New Orleans.
Moreno continued, “I thank the members of the task force for serving and look forward to engaging in this process over the next several months to make this policy a reality.”