The mayor of Ithaca, NY recently revealed his plan to replace their current police department with a Department of Community Solutions and Public Safety. The idea is to have this type of police reform statewide and it is now up for legislative approval. If this is instated, they would replace their current, sworn, police chief with a civilian department head. There would then be an unarmed force and an armed one which would be investigating crimes.
If this passes current employed officers would be forced to reapply for their job to be part of the "armed force". The idea is to have professionals who are trained to handle individuals' with behavioral problems instead of having police take those calls. This would mean "splitting" calls based on what they entail.
Safety is the first issue that comes to mind. Those with behavioral issues often have irrational behavior, it endangers those unarmed "public safety" employees handling calls of that nature. Secondly, instating a leader with no law enforcement background should be of concern. Police departments have chiefs for a reason-they understand the nature of the job, they have been in the shoes of their patrolman.
Though there is nothing wrong with utilizing mental and behavioral health professionals, it is best for the safety of all involved to have an officer present as well. This is because many times an officer will not know the exact details of the call and it could potentially be more dangerous than expected.
The other area of concern with this proposal is the the request to have officers reapply for their current positions. That not only effects the community, and the individual officer, but their family as well. The police who are already in those positions have gone through the proper channels and steps to secure those jobs. If asked to reapply that potentially jeopardizes their livelihood.