Throughout 2022, the Justice, Health & Democracy Impact Initiative has been working with partner cities in developing Alternative Emergency Response Programs (AERPs). The goal of such programs is to connect those in crisis with trauma-informed services. Communities are increasingly recognizing that a police response is not always the most appropriate response to every emergency call and that a more nuanced response can save lives, reduce trauma, and conserve public resources. By studying AERPs around the country, JHD hopes to assess the political context and institutional dynamics that influence AERPs’ capacity to respond to crises equitably and adeptly, and to determine the downstream impacts of AERPs on racial health equity and civic outcomes.
The City of Madison’s Community Alternative Response Emergency Services (CARES) program is one of the partner cities currently piloting an alternative response program and sharing data and insights with JHD AERP Principal Investigator, Danielle Allen, and Program Leads, David Knight and Benjamin Barsky. This week, the City of Madison shared its CARES annual report and held a press conference documenting the program’s impact in its first year and showing promising numbers of successful interventions.