ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department receives 1.1 million calls to 911 and 242-COPS a year. But 3% of those calls are being answered by a different entity, Albuquerque Community Safety. According to new data, ACS has taken more than 9,000 911 calls from APD since the team was created one year ago, with thousands more going directly to ACS.

“The reason that we started ACS was so that ultimately it would divert 911 calls that would normally go to the police and really jam up our system and be able to take those and put them towards ACS,” Mariela Ruiz-Angel, the Director of ACS said.

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ACS is made up of 50 unarmed first responders out in the field responding to mental and behavioral health issues. Along with homelessness, their biggest call for service. In August, they had more than 630 calls regarding homeless or encampments.

Ruiz-Angel says the pandemic has changed the landscape for 911 calls. ACS says they could take even more calls of APD’s hands if they had more staff.

“We have calls pending when we get to the office at 7 a.m. and we have calls that we have to unfortunately sometimes kick back to the police department at 8 p.m.”

As calls for service continue to rise, they’re hoping to make ACS a 24/7 service.

“The goal that we always had was to do about 3,000 to 4,000 calls a month, that would be huge, that would be a very large percent of 911 calls and I think we can get there.”

Most of the calls ACS receives come from downtown. The department is currently hiring ACS responders, if you’re interested, click HERE.