Most agree that the police are asked to do far too much, including tasks that they are not trained to do and so are ill-equipped to do well. The CAHOOTS model is an exciting one. It alleviates the police from undertaking tasks for which they are ill-equipped, especially those related to mental health crises, it does so effectively and without force/violence, and it does so far more cheaply. We invited Tim Black to learn more about CAHOOTS, how it got started, what they do and how they do it, and why this might be a critical option for other jurisdictions across the country that are trying to address public safety issues without such a heavy reliance on police.

Tim BlackTim Black is the Director of Consulting at White Bird Clinic. With a background in runaway and homeless youth, harm reduction, and street outreach, he began working for CAHOOTS as a Crisis Intervention Worker in 2010, before moving into an administrative role as the CAHOOTS Operations Coordinator.

His work with White Bird and CAHOOTS has put him in touch with cities across North America looking to implement services based on the CAHOOTS model of behavioral health first response. Programs based on the CAHOOTS model have been implemented in Olympia, Washington, and Denver, Colorado. In addition to his work with White Bird Clinic, Tim also serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Eugene’s Community Supported Shelters.