Appointed Committee Chair of Public Health and Safety
Vice Mayor Shulman announced new Committee Chairs and has appointed me Chair of Public Health and Safety. As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, deal with the fentanyl crisis, advance our co-response model for public safety, and more in this area, I will be focused on these areas and more in my role. I want to thank District 12 CM Erin Evans for all her great efforts as the last Chair of this committee.
Regarding the co-response model for public safety, we are moving towards expanding mental health responses where appropriate. Partnering with the Mental Health Co-operative, MNPD is expanding its Co-Response Crisis Intervention Program called Partners in Care. The initial pilot at the North and Hermitage Precincts was successful, so we’re now adding Central and South Precincts. The pilot program teamed mental health clinicians with MNPD Officers in patrol cars to respond to calls that involve mental health issues. Nashville’s Co-Response Crisis Intervention Program has four fundamental goals:
- Improve access to care for those experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
- Divert those in crisis from the criminal justice system to the health care system.
- Improve safety for those in crisis, clinicians, and police officers.
- Improve coordination and communication across systems and service providers.
A second pilot is expected to begin in January that will pair mental health professionals with Emergency Medical Technicians rather than MNPD Officers. These teams will focus on non-threatening mental health cases where MNPD presence could be an obstacle to a successful resolution. Metro has looked at models in other cities like Denver, Colorado and Eugene, Oregon, and a task group is working to determine what could work well here. These two programs will depend on our Emergency Communications Department to determine which response is most appropriate.
Thanks to the advocacy of Smokefree Tennessee and numerous partner organizations, they successfully advocated for the State Legislature’s recent authorization of allowing local municipalities to control smoking in age restricted (21+) businesses. I have subsequently filed BL2022-1383 that will do away with smoking in these businesses that does a great deal of harm to our musician and hospitality workers. I have made the implementation date March 1, 2023, to allow these establishments time to find a way to accommodate their smoking customers via a small addition to their business where they smoke before coming back inside the business. The data is crystal clear – smoking is bad for business. Statistics prove that when smoking is removed from businesses, revenues will go up as customers that normally don’t visit those establishments will now go. If you want to advocate for this, feel free to send an email to email@example.com.