Some DeKalb residents living in the city of Atlanta can now dial 311 instead of policeCREDIT ALISON GUILLORY / WABE
Atlanta, GA — Some DeKalb County residents in Atlanta Police Department Zones 5 and 6 can now dial Atlanta 311 and reach the Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative instead of calling the police for certain non-emergency services.
Community members in these zones can reach out to the Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative, also known as PAD, if they are concerned about issues in their community related to behavioral health or poverty. A Harm Reduction team will be dispatched, and assist individuals in need with short-term care navigation, stabilizing supports, and referrals to other service providers.
PAD 311 Community Referral Services are available from 7am – 7pm, Monday-Friday in Atlanta Police Department Zones 5 and 6.
Zone 5 covers most of Downtown Atlanta, Ansley Park, Castleberry Hill, Centennial Place, Downtown Atlanta, Georgia Dome, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Home Park, Midtown, Phillips Arena, Piedmont Park and Sherwood Forrest.
Zone 6 is located in East Atlanta and contains Boulevard Heights, Cabbagetown, Candler Park, Druid Hills, East Atlanta, East Lake, Edgewood, Emory Village, Glenwood Park, Grant Park, Inman Park, Little Five Points, Old Fourth Ward, Ormewood, Kirkwood, Poncey-Highland, Sweet Auburn, Reynoldstown, Virginia Highland and Woodland Hills.
PAD works together with local law enforcement, such as APD and MARTA Police, to utilize Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, which can prevent a person experiencing substance abuse, mental health issues, or extreme poverty from being arrested. PAD then provides direct services such as emergency shelter and basic needs, outreach and care management, and linkage to care.
According to their website, PAD responds to non-emergency quality of life concerns related to mental health, substance use or extreme poverty. This includes:
– Disturbances (such as someone yelling outside a business or blocking traffic)
– Public indecency (such as someone naked or bathing in a public place)
– Welfare (such as someone asking for food or help)
– Mental health (such as someone who appears disoriented, erratic, or is talking to themselves)
– Substance use (such as someone using drugs in public)
– Basic needs (such as someone in need of shelter and sleeping outside)
– Public health (such as someone getting food from a dumpster or using the bathroom in a public place)
To make a referral for non-emergency concerns, simply dial 311 (or 404-546-0311 outside the city limits) and select “Option 1” to speak to a 311 Customer Service Agent.
Depending on the nature of the request, a PAD Harm Reduction team will respond to requests within 30 minutes; some requests, particularly those in frequently reported locations, may be designated as outreach requests and be addressed by the team within 72 hours. PAD will consider the urgency of the situation, the location, and team availability to prioritize requests.
PAD is not an emergency response team — for mental health emergencies, individuals seeking assistance for themselves or a loved one may contact GCAL at 1-800-715-4225 to speak to a clinician, who can assess the situation and may dispatch a mobile crisis response. For medical emergencies please contact 911.
PAD plans to expand their services throughout the City of Atlanta by June 2021.
For more information, visit the Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative website at https://www.atlantapad.org/.
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