The City Councils of Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, and Shoreline this month each adopted a partner agreement to form a new Regional Crisis Response (RCR) Agency. The signed Interlocal (ILA) agreement merges the North Sound RADAR (Response Awareness, De-Escalation, and Referral) Navigator program with Kirkland’s Community Responder program to form a new entity to provide community mobile crisis response services to all five cities.
“This regional agency fills a void in coordinated mental health support for the north Puget Sound area,” said Kirkland City Councilmember Neal Black. “We are committed to reducing reliance on law enforcement as the primary responders to our community members experiencing behavioral health crisis and finding other ways to connect them to care and resources. Answering behavioral health challenges as one collaborative agency will benefit all of our communities.”
The RCR Agency will have 13 total staff, including ten Mental Health Professional Community Responders, which will enhance public health, safety, and emergency response services, including crisis response awareness, support, and resource referral for community members experiencing behavioral health issues across the five-city region.
The new agency will be jointly governed and funded by the partner cities. Supplemental funding support will also come from King County’s Mental Illness Drug Dependency (MIDD) levy and other grants. The City of Kirkland will serve as the administrative host of the program. The initial term of the agreement is for four years and includes the option for neighboring jurisdictions to join after the first year of operation.
The new RCR Agency will begin formal operations at the end of the first quarter of 2023. In the meantime, existing RADAR and Community Responder staff will continue to respond to calls in their respective communities.
Image Credit: KUOW, Megan Farmer