Fair State Brewing Cooperative coordinated an open letter calling for the formation of mobile mental health emergency response teams, dispatched through 911 and available 24/7/365. This would mean that non-violent calls could be diverted away from Minneapolis police department (MPD) and instead be directed to trained mental health professionals. Seward Community Co-op is proud to be a signatory to the letter, written specifically from a small business perspective in Minneapolis: https://bit.ly/3k67gYj
Staff at many small businesses across our city see a need for an emergency number to call for mental health, substance, and general nonviolent issues that will not lead to an armed response by the MPD. The letter advocates for the Minneapolis City Council to create an unarmed emergency response team to respond to nonviolent calls. Seward Co-op employees are not and cannot be equipped to fully resolve instances of community members who are under the influence of serious substances, are experiencing a mental health crisis, or are significantly disrupting service and refuse to leave. However, individuals involved in these situations need to be connected to services, not criminalized, and businesses need experts who can resolve disruptions quickly and safely.
This is a realistic proposal in line with options that the City Council is already currently exploring, and the hope is that this letter would provide an added push prior to the upcoming 2021 budget hearings. We believe this would be a win for small businesses by giving staff a safe resource to call for mental health, substance, or generally non-violent issues that are outside the scope of normal customer service.