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News Release
Vancouver Police receive grant to expand mental health field response - 09/24/21

Vancouver, Wash. –In July 2021, the Vancouver Police Department was one of fourteen Washington law enforcement agencies who will be receiving grants to expand mental health field response capabilities. The grant funds were awarded by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) as a part of an existing program approved and funded by the Washington Legislature along with additional funding provided by the Washington Health Care Authority. 

As part of this 2021 partnership grant, $632,986.40 in grant funding will be made available to Sea Mar to hire three new mental health responders, in addition to the three full-time positions which were established with this grant program in 2020. The grant will also provide $4,000 for training in crisis intervention and best practices enhance program success. Vancouver Police will partner with Sea Mar to provide proactive outreach and build positive relationships to vulnerable individuals and communities with resources, treatment, and services. This year, the Vancouver Police Department will also coordinate with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Police Department and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Police Department to extend mental health field response services to assist these officers and the Vancouver-based communities they serve.

When safe and appropriate, police officers in the participating agencies will call out Sea Mar mental health professionals to respond to their locations in the field to provide a clinical evaluation and transfer responsibility for treatment and follow up care. The intent of the Enhanced Mobile Crisis Response Team is to provide citizens experiencing a mental health crisis with the opportunity to receive care where they are. It is also designed to divert some citizens from incarceration who have committed low level crimes while suffering a mental health crisis. 

“I am excited that we are able to further expand access mental health field response in Vancouver,” said Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain. “With police being called to assist people in crisis more often, these mental health field responders provide the most appropriate resource to someone in crisis and allow police officers the ability to focus more on policing matters where they are most needed.” 

“We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with WASPC and the City of Vancouver to expand our mental health mobile crisis field response program. This grant will allow us to increase field team staffing to assist law enforcement officers with emergency calls and provide early intervention to improve health and safety for individuals in crisis. This program has a positive impact for many of our most vulnerable community members, and we are glad we can continue to grow so we can help more people in the upcoming year,” said Laura Nichols, Program Manager for Sea Mar in Vancouver, Washington.



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