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.

Minneapolis, MN (pop. 429,954): Minneapolis Behavioral Crisis Response (BCR)

The Minneapolis Behavioral Crisis Response (BCR) program was established in 2021 as a fourth branch of the city’s first responder services alongside EMS, fire and police. Operated by the community organization Canopy Roots, the BCR program provides trauma-informed, culturally affirming, unarmed first responder services 24/7 to people in crisis citywide via 911. This model reflects what Minneapolis residents have asked for via community outreach conducted by the city.

Canopy Roots currently employs around 25 full- and part-time responders who are trained mental health practitioners (per state statutes). Responders provide crisis de-escalation including emotionally focused intervention, addressing practical needs, psychoeducation for the recipient and their support systems, risk assessments, safety planning, and connection or voluntary transportation to additional resources.

 In 2023, the city expanded funding to $5.9 million annually with ongoing funding to 2025. 

According to a Minneapolis Police Department assessment and operations report from CNA, the city responded to an average of 310,000 calls for service via 911 per year. From 2016 to 2020, the police responded to about 25,000 total calls over this five-year period that were related to mental or behavioral health crises (coded as “emotionally disturbed person”). The BCR team, from its launch in December 2021 until February 2024, has been assigned and responded to approximately 20,000 calls over a nearly 2.5 year period with zero injuries to service recipients. The crisis intervention teams have two mobile units dispatched through Minneapolis 911 services. These historical trends show that the BCR is responding to nearly double the volume of 911 calls for service than historically completed by police.

 Key performance metrics collected include:

  • Monthly and weekly call volume
  • Calls diverted from police response  
  • Location of BCR responses
  • Percent of calls responded to without backup from Police, Fire, or EMS

Acknowledgements for contributions and review from Taylor Crouch-Dodson, MPD Director of External Affairs, Canopy Roots.

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.