New Orleans, LA

New Orleans' new emergency task force has held its first public meeting

Ashley Lideau

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - The Crisis Intervention Strategy Task Force has held its first public meeting on August 23 to plan a citywide effort regarding the emergency response program in New Orleans.

The task force was created according to Resolution R-21-196 that received unanimous approval from the New Orleans City Council on June 3, 2021. The resolution calls for the formation of a task force to develop a mobile crisis team strategy and to respond to substance abuse and behavioral health crisis.

As a result, the CISTF was established by City Council President Helena Moreno. The members of CISTF have demonstrable records on emergency and crisis response, mental and clinical support, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, and other similar works.

The Mayor and Councilmember each appointed one member, while the other members came from entities like New Orleans Health Department, New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, and more. One chairperson will be elected from the members to hold meetings at least once a month.

The CISTF has to complete three responsibilities in a six-month timeline from the first meeting. It has to engage the community and stakeholders, inform a strategic policy framework, and develop specific legislative recommendations.

“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."

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