LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some Metro Council members want to change how dispatchers handle certain 911 calls.

It is a proposal that would replace armed police officers with mental health professionals from Seven Counties, but only on certain 911 calls.

"There are a number of folks that do reach out to 911 though that might not necessarily be the most appropriate resource for them," said Nicole Wiseman, with Seven Counties.

Wiseman is also the unit manager for a pilot project called the Deflection Program.

"The Deflection Program is a new program that is helping to get folks that are calling 911 and they have more of a behavioral health emergency to get them to the right resources for them at that time," she said.

The program started earlier this year and replaces armed police officers with mental health professional on specific runs.

"There are a variety of different calls that would come to us. Some of them are folks that are experiencing thoughts of suicide, but they haven't done anything to actively harm themselves," said Wiseman.

"We use police officers quite frequently and literally as a blunt instrument," said Metro Council President David James.

James (D-6) sponsored a resolution for the pilot program and says it addresses two major issues for the city.

"For the people in our community that finds themselves in a mental health crisis, it helps them better than a police officer can. And for our police department ... that is short of officers, it allows them to stay on the street and be able to do the things that we really need them to do," said James.

The University of Louisville has conducted an evaluation of the program and is in the process of doing it again for the city.

"The conclusion was, it's extremely successful and we've been able to help a lot of people here," said James.

"They have quite an extensive evaluation that they're doing that includes interviews of the first responders as well as our team," Wiseman said.

The program has been in place since earlier this year.

"We've had over 400 calls since we started back in March," said Wiseman. "So our team responds in a team of two unarmed, non uniformed and a unmarked vehicle."

Once the study is done, Metro Council will decide if the change should be permanent.

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