This case study is part of the Reimagining Public Safety Impact Updates Resource, which highlights successful programs in cities, towns and villages across the country. View the Reimagining Public Safety Initiative to learn more about NLC’s work in creating safe, equitable communities for all. This is one of four municipalities illustrating the Community Response Model, which relies on trained, unarmed civilians to respond to crises and provide behavioral health services.

Eugene, OR (pop. 176,654): Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) 

The 24/7 civilian mobile crisis response organization CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) has been operating in Eugene for 34 years and is led by the White Bird Clinic. CAHOOTS operates one van on duty 24 hours a day and another providing overlapping coverage seven hours per day. Each CAHOOTS team consists of a mental health crisis worker and an emergency medical technician.

In 2021, with a staff of 40 members, CAHOOTS responded to 16,479 of the 109,855 public-initiated calls for service the Eugene Police Department (EPD) received. CAHOOTS diverts 3 to 8 percent of calls that the police would have responded to.

Operating for 30-plus years, Eugene’s Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) program is a 24/7 mobile crisis response program that saves the city police $2.2M per year. In 2021, CAHOOTS diverted 3-8 percent of calls police would have responded to.  

CAHOOTS was previously funded through EPD. According to EPD, CAHOOTS saves the city $2.2 million in police officer wages every year. In 2022, the Eugene Police Department’s budget was $68 million (increasing to $82 million in 2023), and the 2022 contract with CAHOOTS for was $820,586. Based on program needs, CAHOOTS determined it would take another $1.8 million annually to implement changes to stabilize the program and allow for expansion.

In 2021, Oregon 2021 Senate Bill 2417 was passed and signed by the governor, expanding crisis stabilization services. The bill is intended to help other cities and counties in Oregon fund similar teams to CAHOOTS that focus on de-escalating situations and crisis intervention.

In mid-2023, the City of Eugene announced that the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department would take on oversight of CAHOOTS, ending the longtime partnership with EPD.

Key performance metrics collected include:

  • Monthly call volume
  • Calls diverted from police response 
  • Cost savings compared to police response
  • Cost savings to police department in work hours saved  

View the Reimagining Public Safety Impact Update

Learn more about what different cities have done to support public safety, including qualitative and quantitative measures highlighting the impact of community responder models, group violence interventions, hospital-based violence interventions and community violence interventions.