Minneapolis considers studying role of police response to drug overdose calls

Updated: November 18, 2019 10:11 PM

A Minneapolis working group has suggested the City Council approve further study of the role police play in responding to 911 drug overdose calls.

The working group has recommended the city "Implement sending EMT to overdose victims, recode this call type to EMT only and send (Minneapolis Police Department) only if EMT requests it."


Drug and alcohol counselor Randy Anderson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he understands it is only a recommendation to study the possibility of implementing such a policy, but he said he does not even favor having the discussion.

"This is a matter of seconds, not minutes, as to whether a life can be saved during an overdose," Anderson said.  "If there is now a moment where a conversation has to be had to determine if a police officer should respond, or an EMT, I guarantee a life will be lost at some point."

Andrea Larson, a city coordinator with Minneapolis, told KSTP the idea is simply in its early stages and there are a lot of ideas and thoughts being explored right now to improve any 911 response.

"This is simply a way to look at it differently and study whether it would be effective," Larson said.  "It would only be to study and reassess the level of risk associated with these calls to identify if there is an opportunity for alternative responses to lower risk calls."

The City Council will likely take a vote on the question on the study sometime after the 2020 budget is adopted in December.

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Jay Kolls

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