Calgary Police collaborate with Distress Centre in ‘211’ for non-crime related calls

Hundreds of 911 calls have been diverted to other services over the past few months as Calgary police continue with a plan to reduce strain on their officers.

Since the pilot program began in February, close to three-hundred calls have been sent over to Distress Centre in Calgary.

This includes non-life threatening and non-criminal calls, such as those about mental health and addiction issues.

In one example someone called 911 because their friend was depressed and was worried about the intention of suicide but the call was sent over to mental health resource teams who were able to assist.

“Partnerships like this are key to ensuring that Calgarians are connected with the right supports, at the right time, for the right outcomes when they need them the most. The more we continue to come together across systems, the more we can continue to ease the burden of those in crisis in having to navigate the system,” said Robyn Romano, Chief Executive Officer of the Distress Centre Calgary.


Police say they will continue working with community partners and social services to figure out best practices to ensure police are not called to all concerns surrounding mental health and addictions. (Photo: Nandini Westlake, CityNews Calgary)

“We made a commitment in June of 2021 that we would find a better and more appropriate way to respond to the needs of Calgarians in crisis. What this pilot project is telling us is that by partnering with Calgary 911 and 211 Distress Centre, we are able to ensure people are being supported in the way they need it the most,” said CPS Chief Constable Mark Neufeld.

An official announcement is being made for the new collaboration between 211 and 911 at CPS headquarters.

An official announcement is being made for the new collaboration between 211 and 911 at CPS headquarters. (Photos: Nandini Westlake, CityNews Calgary)

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The CPS hopes to continue to engage with community partners including the social services and nonprofit sector to better deliver the best service possible given the situation. Alongside the Call Assessment Project CPS hopes to efficiently deal with non-police-related calls and redirect them to the appropriate areas of concern so officers have more to address and investigate more important concerns at hand.

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