My first story for Signal Cleveland was about Cleveland’s expansion of co-response teams – where an officer partners with a social worker to respond to or follow up on mental health-related calls. Since then, I’ve written about both co-response and care response – teams that respond to mental health crises without police – in Cleveland. But I had yet to write about the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s crisis intervention teams, which include co-response and ambassadors.
RTA introduced ambassadors and co-response teams to its police department a year ago in September of 2022. I thought the one-year mark was a great opportunity to talk to team members and learn how the program works.
After talking to the crisis intervention team commander, one of the co-response social workers and an ambassador, I wanted to see for myself what being an ambassador was all about. On Wednesday morning, I joined Ebony Allen and two of her co-workers for a couple of hours. We met at the 25th Street Ohio City Red Line station, where they made sure the elevator was working, told a guy he wasn’t allowed to smoke on the platform, and asked another guy to step back from the edge. Then, we hopped on a westbound train to the Puritas station.
Read on to learn more about the ride-along.
RTA launched its Transit Ambassador Program in early September of 2022. A year in, program employees say they’re helping riders.