DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The City of Dayton is working on police reform with a new alternative response program. It is part of a recommendation from the community engagement police reform group.

Erin Ritter, the human resources manager for the City of Dayton, said the city wants to help community members, police officers, and regional dispatchers.

“The hope is that we will have better suited responses to calls that were already not getting an immediate police response,” Ritter explained.

The Mediation Response Program will take 911 calls that are nonviolent and noncriminal. Then they will find other ways to resolve the situation.

“These are going to be calls that are more suited for someone to come out, talk, build a rapport, and hopefully it will decrease any repeat calls to 911 that were unnecessary to begin with,” Ritter said.

City leaders are starting to build the team of people who will be responding to these calls. Once the program is officially off the ground, the Mediation Response Unit will respond to two percent of police calls with the goal to expand.

“People use 911 as a catch-all a lot of times, they do not know who else to call, so they call 911. The Regional Dispatch call takers are already determining what’s the best response for this. So this will be one more resource that they will have,” Ritter said.

Ritter said this is just one way they are working on police reform and rebuilding trust between police officers and the community.

“They are not necessarily looking to go out to calls where they need to be providing social work-type services to folks. This could get them better suited to be on to the next emergency,” Ritter explained.

The city is now looking to hire people for the Mediation Response Program. To learn more about the positions and apply, click here.

The goal is to officially launch the program in early 2022.