Did you know that as of last week the non-armed, non-police Portland Street Response (PSR) service is available citywide?
That means if you’re biking around and see someone who needs help, and you don’t want or need to involve the Portland Police Bureau, you can call 911 and request that your call be dispatched to PSR, an official City of Portland program staffed by professionals seven days a week between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm (pending budget approval it will be available 24/7).
PSR is specifically intended to respond to people who are experiencing a non life-threatening mental or behavioral health crisis. According to PSR, “We’re staffed with medical personnel, licensed mental health crisis workers, case managers, and peer support specialists. We’re dispatched as unarmed, trauma-informed first responders for non-life-threatening (but crisis-related) calls.”
The service is confidential, voluntary, and free of charge.
Here are the criteria the 911 dispatcher will use to route your call to PSR:
A person who is possibly experiencing a mental health crisis; intoxicated and/or drug affected. This person is either outside or inside of a publicly accessible space such as a business, store, public lobby, etc.
A person who is outside and down, not checked.
A person who is outside and yelling.
A person who needs a referral for services, but does not have access to a phone line.
The call meets the previous criteria – AND
There are no weapons seen.
The person is not in traffic/not obstructing traffic.
The person is not violent towards others (physically combative, threatening violence, assaulting).
The person is not suicidal.
The person is not inside of a private residence.
I know that people who ride bikes around our city come face-to-face with many people who need help. Now we have a resource that is much better equipped to handle them than police officers.