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Lansing mayor proposes funding for a crisis deescalation team in city's next budget

Facade of Lansing City Hall

Lansing is poised to create a crisis assessment team aimed at reducing the need for arrests.

Mayor Andy Schor's budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes $1.3 million in federal funding for the team, which would be made up of police officers, social workers and EMTS.

The goal is to intervene when people are in crisis by referring them to resources, like housing services, mental health care and substance abuse counseling.

"Lansing has been a leader in helping those in crisis, instead of criminalizing them,” Mayor Andy Schor said in a statement.

Lansing currently funds two social worker positions within the police department, and Schor is asking the City Council to approve a budget amendment that would fund a third social worker as soon as this fiscal year.

One social worker position is filled, a city spokesman said Wednesday, and officials are in the process of hiring a second. Officials say they plan to post a third job opening as soon as City Council approves funding.

Schor's nearly $242 million budget recommendation represents a modest 1.2% increase over the current fiscal year. The $153 million general fund, which can be spent on a broader range of purposes compared to dedicated funds, would get a 2.3% bump.

City Council has until May 16 to vote on approval of the spending plan that will take effect July 1.

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