Police face backlash over virus rules. Enter ‘violence interrupters’.

Alternatives to police responses to community needs & conflicts are needed now more than ever.

But let us not stop with Covid. These & other approaches need to be invested in and prioritized now and in the future.

I am excited to see this coverage today in The New York Times on using violence interrupters and community-based alternatives to de-escalate potential conflict and remedy community situations. I’ve been lucky to be able to support initiatives like this, especially in relation to drug markets and use, in several countries around the world and in relation to harm reduction approaches. There is a lot that can be learned from and built upon both for health-based crises like we are experiencing now and beyond. It is time that we shift how we understand what constitutes public and community “safety” and how we can reach it. Individual and community health is safety. And approaches to improve health also can improve safety. We need to invest in them.

 

 

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