Instead Of Police is a crowdsourced, nationwide database of community resources & mobile response teams to be utilized as alternatives to calling police.
In nearly every state, black individuals are killed by police at a higher rate than the state average. Based on data that stopped being collected in 2015, a person experiencing a mental health crisis was sixteen times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer. Mental health crises and a myriad of other situations are better handled by trained mental health professionals than armed officers, and there are organizations out there proving this theory right now. Instead of Police provides a list of local, community response teams in each state that can serve as alternatives to the police in various situations.
When we began this project, we realized two things that shaped our goals: first, that community resources are difficult to find in an actual emergency. Second, that there are not nearly as many of these organizations as are needed. In the short term, we want to raise awareness about the alternatives that currently exist. Our main goal is to present this information in a way that can be easily accessed in a stressful situation, directly connecting people to local resources and reducing 911 calls that lead to contact with law enforcement, escalation, and violence (see Resources in Your Area). In the long term, we want to contribute to the current shift toward reducing reliance on law enforcement both by helping people access these resources and by providing existing organizations with tools and resources to improve their response (see Organizer Resources).
We are currently prioritizing researching and listing organizations with mobile crisis response teams, but will eventually expand to include other community resources. While we are currently listing some organizations that are government funded and therefore must cooperate with law enforcement to some degree in certain situations, we will be updating and replacing these with more community centered organizations as the movement to #defundthepolice grows and the reallocation of funds leads to the creation of more autonomous, care, and community centered resources across the country.
We call each of the resources listed on this site and ask them a series of verification questions before listing them to ensure that they don't charge, automatically involve law enforcement or cooperate with ICE, and to verify location, access, response times, etc. This map reflects the resources we have verified and currently have listed on the site, (See the Resources in Your Area page for each state). What you won't see on the site at present are the hundreds of leads we have accumulated since we started the project in June 2020 that are currently in our database awaiting verification. We are chipping away at this, but it takes time. Check back frequently or head to the Collaborate With Us page to help out.