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For some time now city officials and the Buffalo Police Department have been working to put together a non-lethal way of restraining citizens in our community when there is a situation that does not require the use of a gun or even a taser. There has been plenty of discussions lately about Buffalo police officers responding to calls that require a mental health crisis professional on-site.

According to WIVB, Buffalo police officers on the scene of a call in the Kenfield area, last weekend deployed the BolaWrap on a woman, who they had determined after a few hours of trying to restrain her, a treat to herself and others. Police say that the deployment of the new safety tool was a success, but there are local organizations that feel differently.

Credit: WIVB

Change Agents of Western New York and The Western New York Peace Center argued in a recent Zoom meeting, that the situation should have been handled by a mental health professional, they feel that the incident escalated by having officers there.

Is it being called a success because the person didn't die? That it didn't lead to the death of a transgender woman? A black woman?

asked, Amy Cross-Viola of Agents of Change, WNY according to WIVB.

Amy also mentioned that she feels the bar is set too-low if this could be considered a successful response to a mental health crisis. This is a very sensitive situation, in my opinion, because what if you have an incident where it's definitely a mental health crisis call, that turns into a situation where police officers are needed. I'm sure there is a way to find common ground between when officers are needed or not. I know people personally with mental health issues that are non-violent people, I think I would want someone on the scene who is a professional at dealing with people with these kinds of issues.

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