RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the past year and a half, Durham's HEART program has gained national attention - diverting some 911 calls for mental health cases to trained counselors instead of police.
Now, Raleigh is considering a similar program, but before that happens, they're soliciting public feedback.
Online surveys have already gone live where people can respond with their ideas, but Saturday, the City of Raleigh also hosted an in person feedback session at the Southgate Food Lion.
"We're trying to get out here and reach the community with the goal of taking it back to council in the next couple months with community feedback," says Lance Shinholser, community relations analyst for the City of Raleigh.
The city survey asks people about their interactions with first responders and whether they think that just like in Durham, they'd support alternative forms of policing in non-emergency situations.
Sherry Gibson is a mental health specialist. She says she's followed Durham's HEART program from a far, and believes police aren't always best equipped to handle people in crisis.
"We have very good police, very awesome police but you have people who are trained for this you have peer supporters you have clinicians who's ready to jump in the field," she says.
In Durham, HEART has already tackled over 8,000 calls the last year and half, prompting them to add more staff to expand city wide, 12 hours a day.
Back in Raleigh, some are more skeptical. Marvin Green says he's worried about safety for clinicians who might have to go into unsafe situations. Still he says something needs to be done.
"Funding helps, manpower helps, so we need willing hearts and we need more money poured in to the city," Green says.
This is still very much in the early stages. The city says they're going to be hosting focus groups and listening sessions, and that online survey will be open all the way through March, so it won't be another couple months before we possibly know the if or when that program can move ahead.