By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new version of the emergency phone line could be coming to Sacramento County strictly for handling mental health emergencies.

Supervisor Patrick Kennedy is proposing adding a new number. Dispatchers would assign teams of civilian mental health professionals to respond to the calls and there would be no police presence.

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“So the whole idea and the principle behind this is to get people the most appropriate and timely care that they need if they’re in a mental health crisis,” Kennedy said. “A large percentage of those calls will never even make it into the criminal justice system will never make it into 911.”

Sacramento doctor Corrine McIntosh Sako is a licensed clinical psychologist who supports the plan for a new mental health emergency line.

“Law enforcement is not set up to be a social service provider,” Sako said.

The funding is set to start at $1.6 million a year and provide services Monday through Friday during the day. Sako wants the funding to be $15 million a year and the line to be available around the clock.

“I know that physical health emergencies don’t operate during normal business hours, mental health emergencies don’t either,” Sako said.

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Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost says she has questions about the alternative 911 plan, but agrees it fills an need.

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“There is a hole in the system, and I think what this is is our attempt to think out of the box,” Frost said.

A new kind of call for help. A new number to dial, that could make a life or death difference.

Supervisors will vote Wednesday on the proposal. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s office supports the plan.

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The new number has not been decided yet.