COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Nearly two months after the Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission (LETAC) advised the City Council to create more crisis response teams, the council discussed the matter for the first time.
During a work session Monday, Steve Kern -- a LETAC member -- made an official presentation asking the council to create more teams in addition to four current teams, each of which includes a police officer, paramedic, mental health professional and social worker.
"We didn't recommend how many more teams are needed, and we're not sure how much it would cost," he said. "We're not the ones to determine that. We'll leave that up to the council and the Police Department."
Kern said that more teams are needed because of the high frequency of requests for service and the city's growing population.
But Kern also said that the commission wants to conserve resources when possible because a crisis situation -- one where someone is emotionally upset or has mental health issues during a 911 call -- may not require only part of a team and not an entire team.
"These situations can take several hours to resolve and taking an officer off patrol for that long isn't always the most efficient use of resources," he said. "If we can resolve a crisis at the scene, that's a preferable outcome."
Kern said that also some LETAC members wanted a stronger recommendation, all 11 commissioners voted unanimously for the recommendation presented Monday.
Council members said that they support the idea and will consider it during the upcoming process for next year's city budget.
"If -- for some odd reason -- you choose not to, I would like a detailed explanation during or in advance of the budget hearing, as to why," said Councilman Wayne Williams.
The Police Department is overseen by the mayor's office, and Jeff Greene -- chief of staff for Mayor John Suthers -- said that the office is also supportive of the recommendation.
The LETAC was appointed by the council last September in the wake of local and nationwide protests after the Minneapolis police-inflicted death of George Floyd.