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City Reaffirms Support for Unarmed Crisis Response Program

Archived News Release: December 27, 2023 - ​The City of Ann Arbor is reaffirming its support for the establishment of an unarmed crisis response program. In April 2021, City Council passed resolution R-21-129  directing the city administrator to create an unarmed crisis response program. City Council has since supported program implementation efforts with the appropriation of $3.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds (April 2022) and an intensive community outreach program which yielded a final report in March 2023 (City of Ann Arbor Unarmed Crisis Response Team: Community Feedback and Recommendations).

In August 2023, the city issued a request for proposal (RFP). The process yielded only one proposal, which was submitted by Care-Based Safety (CBS). A standard procurement review process, in which the CBS proposal was carefully reviewed in its entirety by multiple city staff members, determined significant issues with the single submission. As a result, city staff made the difficult decision to cancel the current RFP and issue a new one in 2024. A staff-level decision does not require a vote of the Ann Arbor City Council, and no such vote was taken.

City Administrator Milton Dohoney Jr. indicated that the city found it unacceptable that it would take at least five years for the unarmed crisis response program to fully ramp up under the approach submitted by CBS. In addition, the city found it unacceptable that calls for service would only be answered on limited days during limited hours leaving the city without a functioning unarmed crisis response after 11 p.m. and for much of the weekend. 

“We felt the amount of time proposed to be spent on community building activities, such as dance parties, rides to medical appointments, and the distribution of free health supplies, was not sufficiently related to the unarmed crisis response being sought by the community," Dohoney said. “The city's RFP included a list of situations where it would be inappropriate to dispatch an unarmed crisis response, such as a report of a person with a gun, domestic violence, or someone being held against their will. The CBS submittal disregarded the RFP directive and indicated it would seek volunteers from their response team to go on such calls if they felt safe doing so. I do not believe this approach would meet our community's expectations of how a safe and successful unarmed crisis response program should work."

Dohoney further stated, “This is a new program that will involve challenging work. While the city applauds CBS for their willingness to submit a proposal to take on this project, given the importance of unarmed crisis response for both the community and our City Council, we would be doing both a disservice to accept a proposal with the issues noted. The city will outline a new RFP timeline in January 2024."​

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Media Contact Information

Lisa Wondrash
Communications Director
[email protected]

Ann Arbor has 123,851 residents, spans 28.97 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, and follow the city on Twitter and Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.