NEW YORK (PIX11) — Mayor Eric Adams plan to tackle mental illness in New York City quickly generated controversy after he announced the plan Tuesday.

Adams said he was directing police and city medics to be more aggressive about getting severely mentally ill people off the streets and subways and into treatment, even if it means involuntarily hospitalizing some people who refuse care.

Critics have said the plan may cause more harm than good.

The mayor’s announcement was condemned as wrong-headed by some civil rights groups and advocates for the homeless.

“The Mayor is playing fast and loose with the legal rights of New Yorkers and is not dedicating the resources necessary to address the mental health crises that affect our communities,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“Forcing people into treatment is a failed strategy for connecting people to long-term treatment and care,” she said.

The Coalition for the Homeless also denounced the mayor’s plan, saying the city should focus on expanding access to voluntary psychiatric treatment.

“Mayor Adams continues to get it wrong when it comes to his reliance on ineffective surveillance, policing, and involuntary transport and treatment of people with mental illness,” said the coalition’s executive director, Jacquelyn Simone.

Other groups welcomed the mayor’s overtures even if they remain skeptical about how police would ultimately handle the mentally ill.

“We agree with the spirit of Mayor Adams address, which, you know, very much centers around confronting this human problem with compassion and sensitivity,” said Jeffrey Berman, the an attorney for the mental health unit of the Legal Aid Society.

“We need fixes within the criminal legal system so that those people who do end up arrested can find a way out with treatment and support in the community and a road to real recovery and not jail,” he said.

The Legal Aid Society, along with several community-based defender services, said the mayor was correct in noting “decades of dysfunction” in mental health care. They argued state lawmakers “must no longer ‘punt’” to address the crisis and approve legislation that would offer treatment, not jail, for people with mental health issues.

In the days after Adams announced the plan, the NYPD said officers have not yet started removing people for mental health crises, as more guidance is needed from the city.

There are still major concerns, especially from the unions that represent first responders.

“We will need to hear more about the role police officers will play in this new plan,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement. “We need extremely clear guidance and training on when and how we should compel people to accept help. We need our leaders to back us up when we carry out these duties.”

Michael Greco, vice president of the union representing EMTs and paramedics, said in a statement, “Our members are getting assaulted at a tremendous rate so anytime you are about to embark on something that forces people to go anywhere unwillingly especially if its a mental health crisis will lead to that risk and possibility of assaults.”