Sen. Van Hollen plans to introduce police reform legislation on federal level
MARYLAND – As calls for police reform continue, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen says he plans to re-introduce legislation that would send a mental or behavioral health worker to certain calls instead of a police officer. The Community-Based Response Act aims to create grant programs that would pay for community-based emergency and non emergency response. “When you begin to look at the cases, you find so many do not require a use of force response. A lot of those have to do with different mental health situations,” said Sen. Van Hollen.
Sen. Van Hollen says in instances like a mental health crisis a trained social or mental and behavioral health worker would be better suited. He adds that working with community organizations will only help serve people better. “The idea is to be partnering with organizations and people who are directly in the neighborhoods. Otherwise, it’s another outside group that doesn’t necessarily understand the situation,” said Sen. Van Hollen.
The legislation hasn’t been introduced yet, but Sen. Van Hollen says that will happen soon. Right now the City of Baltimore is working on enacting similar policies. Sen. Van Hollen says other communities in Maryland should look to them as an example.