New ways to address trauma and mental health issues in vulnerable populations, which also reduce the pressure on first responders, have emerged from the COVID pandemic, say municipal leaders. In Pittsburgh, data helped city officials tweak existing services to reduce how often police and paramedics were sent to help people in mental distress. Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County put more people on the ground who are trained to work with people in distress, and police like the program, which has completed more than 500 calls since April. Baltimore changed its application process so formerly incarcerated residents can take part in boards and commissions, including one to address challenges of newly released inmates.

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