Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $230,439)
The City of Seattle Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC) is launching its Civilian Assisted Response & Engagement (CARE) pilot program in October 2023. The program will consist of diverse behavioral health professionals (BHPs) dispatched by 911 dispatchers to non-emergent calls to reduce the burden on law enforcement and respond to increasing mental health crises. The CSCC is working with the community and academic partners to inform and develop the training for the pilot program, incorporate best practices, and implement the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Crisis Response and Intervention Training (CRIT) modules as one foundation for its training program. The CSCC is applying for a Category 1 grant to support this work to create, design, and implement comprehensive, culturally responsive, multi-disciplinary, and trauma-informed training that establishes best practices and competencies for alternative response and co-response teams. The goal is to increase the competencies of field responders to address the needs of people in crisis with behavioral health conditions, inclusive of a deep understanding of the needs of Black, Indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQ+ communities.
Project activities include: (1) working and collaborating with community partners and stakeholders to develop the CSCC training program in four phases with the BJA CRIT modules as the core foundation for both phases; (2) building a client records management database to improve client-interaction outcomes and data-sharing efforts. Expected outcomes include appropriate and improved responses to calls with a mental and behavioral health nexus; empowered responders equipped with tools, techniques, and knowledge using an anti-racist lens and culturally responsive approach; improved client outcomes by tracking minimal documentation on a records management database; reduction in recidivism of low-level crimes, emergency room visits, and frequency of repeat and high utilizers; safer interactions for responders and clients; and enhanced organizational culture by supporting the responder’s well-being.
The intended beneficiaries of the training program are crisis responders and individuals experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis. The service area will include the downtown radius with a diverse population of over 50,000 and 50% being persons of color.
The CSCC has yet to receive federal funding to implement CRIT and is the sole applicant for this grant. However, the CSCC is working with the University of Washington and the Washington State Co-
Responder Outreach Alliance to develop training for its crisis responders and build out to support law enforcement and fire.