City's mental health crisis response pilot set to expand after promising start

The city’s pilot program to dispatch social workers to address mental health calls instead of the police is ready to expand following a promising launch, but hiring roadblocks could threaten further growth.

The Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division was launched in June 2021 as part of former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office’s attempts to mitigate police violence when addressing mental health crises. Establishing the initiative became a priority following Black Lives Matter protests in the city and nationwide over police brutality that led to the death of Eric Garner and George Floyd.

“Getting our program into five precincts within six months hasn’t been easy—these precincts are not

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