Seattle – Three locations in Western Washington will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Justice for alternative policing methods and sexual assault education, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Bellevue, Longview, and a program in the Renton School District will receive Byrne Grants through the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
“The Department of Justice is always looking for programs that can increase community safety. These three innovative approaches focus not on punishment, but on supporting members of our community outside the criminal justice system,” said U.S. Attorney Brown. “Our hope is that program successes can be replicated in other locations, expanding the toolkit for dealing with mental health challenges that impact our community.”
Bellevue and Longview will receive $915,000 and $292,000 respectively to create and augment programs in which mental health professionals respond to 911 calls with behavioral crisis components. Bellevue plans to launch a permanent Community Crisis Assistance Team (CCAT) with a mental health professional trained in identifying, understanding, and responding to signs of mental illness, developmental or intellectual disabilities, and substance abuse disorders. The city of Longview plans to augment a pre-existing mental health field response program by hiring two additional mental health professionals. Each of these programs seeks to provide alternative, non-punitive support to those experiencing mental health difficulties while continuing to protect their communities.
The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KSARC) will receive $250,000 to support Making Prevention Possible (MPP), a multi-year, multi-strategy sexual assault response and prevention program in two Renton Public Schools. The program will be part of the curriculum in Dimmitt Middle School (starting in sixth grade) and in Renton High School (continuing through 12th grade). MPP hopes to create a measurable difference in the understanding of sexual assault, how to support survivors, and how to prevent future violence.
The Byrne Grants are named in honor of New York City Police Officer Edward R. Byrne, who was killed in the line of duty on February 26, 1988. Officer Byrne was just 22 years old.