Democratic primary mayoral candidate Dianne Morales wants to create a new city agency that will be the first responder agency for calls for people suffering from mental illness, homelessness or substance abuse.
The “Community First Responders Department would use “trauma informed resources and care,” according to the campaign and exist separately from the NYPD. The new agency would be staffed by medical professionals and social workers.
Advocates have long called for a change to how the NYPD handles calls involving mentally ill people – particularly after incidents have resulted in shooting deaths at the hands of responding officers.
"It's really hard to decouple the quote unquote violence that has taken place over the last year from the increased housing insecurity, increased food insecurity, increased lack of access to health care services," Morales said.
If elected mayor, Morales says she would pay for the Community First Responders Department by diverting $370 million from a proposed $3 billion dollar cut to the NYPD to pay for it.
A recent report by the city’s Public Advocate’s office found 911 calls involving people in mental health crisis have skyrocketed in the city, reaching almost 180,000 per year in the last 10 years.
Meanwhile in Park Slope, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced his plan to deal with rising gun violence by specifically addressing the flow of guns into the city.
"Fighting gun violence is more than a police issue. it is an issue that involves partnerships with our faith based leaders, crisis management teams and education," Adams said Thursday during a press conference outside a deli a day after a 51 year old mother of two was shot at point blank range, in broad daylight on the corner of Fourth Avenue and St. Marks Place in Park Slope.
"Because we ignored the guns in Brownsville, now we are seeing it spread to every part of the city," Adams said.
Adams is calling for coordinated gun control efforts in the tri-state area, surveillance at bus and train terminals and a federal gun control plan that addresses hand guns. He is also promising a better trained anti crime unit if he's elected mayor.
The shooting is the first in this neighborhood so far this year.
Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan to curb gun violence, but critics say it's too similar to a plan from last year which did little to prevent a rise in shootings.
"Many people thought that is over there. Now we're seeing it's also over here. If you don’t get gun violence under control, it's going to be on the corner of 4th avenue and it's going to be at Grand Central Station and it's going to be in the communities that may not historically dealt with gun crises," Adams said.