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STAR Program works to provide resources to people in crisis without involving police

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17min 40sec
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Denver’s STAR van is parked outside of the Denver Rescue Mission at Park Avenue and Lawrence Street. Feb. 12, 2021.

The STAR Program has been underway in Denver for two years now. STAR stands for "Support Team Assistance Response." The program sends unarmed trained health experts instead of police officers to certain low-risk 911 calls. It's been praised for helping deliver health care and resources to those who need it, instead of arresting them or failing to connect them to much-needed support during a crisis. And, a new study finds it's helped reduce low-level crime and cut the cost of answering certain calls. Carleigh Sailon is a licensed clinical social worker. She responded to many calls in the STAR Program van during its six-month pilot phase and now serves as the operations manager in Denver.