ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- Antioch city leaders unveiled the new community response team. It's a unit trained to respond to calls for domestic incidents, mental health crises and other incidents that normally would have required police.
"It has a huge impact of the needs the community has, and it really starts to decriminalize things we take for granted," said Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe. "If your parents are about to engage in a domestic incident, or you're a homeless person wondering in the middle of the street, this team is trained to assist with that and de-escalate the situation."
Twelve people will be deployed throughout the city to aid people experiencing these issues. Mayor Thorpe says this was a pilot program for two years, but now it is in full operation. 911 dispatchers will determine if the caller needs this service.
It comes during a time when members of the Antioch Police Department are on administrative leave for allegedly sending racists texts. Police Chief Steven Ford says this new program will help the department.
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"This resource will free up those low-level mental health related phone calls they can go to," Ford said. "They have the expertise to deal with that stuff, and we can focus on keeping the city safe."
It is named in honor of Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Antioch resident who his family says died in police custody while experiencing a mental health episode. His family hopes it helps save lives.
"It means that Angelo's death was not in vain," his father Robert Collins said. "If this program would have been working in December 2020, I don't think Angelo would have died."
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