News10NBC In-Depth: Where was the city's crisis intervention team?

Berkeley Brean
Updated: March 10, 2021 08:42 PM
Created: March 10, 2021 07:09 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We wondered: If this man shot and killed by RPD early Wednesday morning was in crisis, where was the city's crisis intervention team?

The answer is because a weapon was involved they're not sent to this kind of scene, but that could change in two weeks.

After the death of Daniel Prude was exposed in September, the city decided to create a new Person in Crisis or PIC unit separate from the RPD.

The unit started in January.

RPD Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said what happened Wednesday morning is not a call for PIC.

Brean: "Chief, why wouldn't a crisis intervention team be dispatched to this scene where you have a person in crisis?"

Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan: "Right now at this point, for the PIC team, when you have an incident like this where you have a person with weapon, for their own safety, they're not sent to those calls."
  
The chief said PIC might go to calls with police involving weapons in the future, but right now, not this one. 

Herriott-Sullivan: "It was too fluid. Too dangerous. And we would have kept them back anyway."

Brean: "Based on what you watched, do you think that or would like to see crisis intervention specialists go to a scene like this?"

Mayor Lovely Warren: "It's very hard, and let me say this, it's hard to know based on what I saw. As the chief indicated, this happened in a couple of minutes."

Warren says the police body camera video shows the officers tried to engage with the man, even asking for his name. 

Warren: "So I don't know if a social worker asking that question would have changed how he responded."

I asked the mayor's office this question: Currently, can a PIC team be dispatched if there is a weapon involved in the call? 

The mayor's office replied in an email, "Not currently. However, the City plans on implementing co-response by April 1. When co-response is implemented, RPD and PIC could respond jointly to calls where a weapon is present depending on the circumstances of a call."

Click here to learn more about Persons In Crisis and the proposed development of the program through its first 180 days.


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