Penny Lane's Unarmed Model of Crisis Response Program Goes Live

April 3, 2024

The Unarmed Model of Crisis Response (UMCR) Program

On 3/11/24 Penny Lane’s Unarmed Model of Crisis Response officially went live after months of planning with the City of Los Angeles, LA Police Department, community partners, and LA city administrative offices, and the Equity, Performance Management, and Innovation team in the offices of Karen Bass.  This new pilot program aims to divert non-criminal and non-violent 911 calls to mobile teams comprising of a therapist and community worker.  The goal is to provide mental health and community resource support to members of the community experiencing a crisis.  

Penny Lane Deputy Director of Intensive Mental Health Services Naomi Novak worked with the office of the Mayor from to create what would become the Unarmed Model of Crisis Response (UMCR).  Through multiple changes to the name, policy, and launch date, she along with Intensive Services Director Parviz Nafari were able to build a team comprising of clinical managers, clinicians, and community workers.  They also created a vision of what Penny Lane’s UMCR program would look like: a culture that is defined by collaboration, community, and commitment.  

Careful planning went into creating an extensive resource database that contains a wide assortment of resources spanning Service Area 2.  While the teams were able to gather a wealth of resources from community providers, they were also able to learn about various Penny Lane programs.  Staff from Penny Lane’s SUD Program, Enhanced Care Management, Clinic, Intensive Services, Tailored Services for LGBTQ+ Youth/Embracing Identities and others were kind enough to meet with the UMCR staff during team meetings to present their programs and answer any questions they had to foster teamwork and collaboration.  

The teams work with the LAPD Devonshire jurisdiction and were able to attend several law enforcement roll calls.  This allowed them to meet law enforcement officers as well as shadow LAPD dispatchers to familiarize themselves with crisis calls.  As the launch date neared, the LA city administrative office had a number of final requests including revisions to policies, staffing, uniforms, and even promotional photos.  The teams were able to deliver these items in a prompt manner and earned kudos from City Administrative Office.  

Teams are stationed in the RJC building in North Hills 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Day shift staff are often in the field performing outreach when not responding to crisis dispatch calls while graveyard shift teams are posted on site.  Penny Lane staff are always welcome to come by and say hello to the UMCR teams and to introduce themselves.  We welcome discussion regarding the different programs and look forward to answering any questions about the UMCR.

-Bryan Do, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!