City councilman proposes alternative emergency line for those in mental health crisis

November 20, 2018 10:48 PM

For weeks, activists have been calling for police to improve how they respond to people in crisis after a man was shot to death in Minneapolis. A city councilman says he believes creating an alternative emergency line for people in crisis to call is part of the solution.

"This was a tragedy that happened and [a tragedy] that it had to be the catalyst. But fortunately what we're seeing is that folks are taking it very seriously now," said Fourth Ward Minneapolis Councilman, Phillipe Cunningham.


Travis Jordan was shot to death during an encounter with Minneapolis police back on Nov 9. Friends say Jordan needed mental health assistance, but police say he was armed with a knife when he was shot.

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Cunningham would like to create an alternative to 911 that people in crisis can call to connect with help. He says he's been in talks with the city coordinator about adding staff to the space where the current 311 and 911 call centers are.

"There needs to be a better direct connection. Folks don't typically think to call Hennepin County Cope directly. So how do we help direct folks when they are in an emergency to the right level of resources that they need," said Cunningham.

The incident that led to Jordan's death will be evaluated at the next public safety meeting on Nov 29. Members of the community are encouraged to attend. Cunningham plans to discuss the alternative line project at that meeting as well.

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Jackie Cain

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