HB 2892

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

C 142 L 18

Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Establishing the mental health field response teams program.

Sponsors: Representatives Lovick, Hayes, Goodman, Klippert, Tarleton, Slatter, McDonald, Frame and Kloba.

House Committee on Public Safety

House Committee on Appropriations

Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections

Senate Committee on Law & Justice

Senate Committee on Ways & Means


The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) is an independent organization consisting of sheriffs, police chiefs, the Washington State Patrol, and the Department of Corrections. The 1975 Legislature made the WASPC a statutory entity by designating the association as a "combination of units of local government," and it currently receives state funding to manage certain programs. This includes, for example, the Jail Booking and Reporting System.


Subject to an appropriation, the WASPC must develop and implement a mental health field response grant program (program). The purpose of the program is to assist local law enforcement agencies to establish and expand mental health field response capabilities, by utilizing mental health professionals to professionally, humanely, and safely respond to encounters involving persons with mental health issues.

Grants are awarded to local law enforcement agencies based on locally developed proposals to incorporate mental health professionals into the agencies' mental health field response. Grant proposals must include a plan for diversion from incarceration. Two or more agencies may submit a joint grant proposal. Grant applications are reviewed by peer review panels appointed by the WASPC in consultation with behavioral health organizations and fully integrated managed care organizations. The WASPC may prioritize grants for agencies with matching local funds. To the extent possible, at least one grant recipient agency should be from Eastern Washington and one from Western Washington. Grant recipients must be selected and receiving funds by October 1, 2018.

Grant recipients must include at least one mental health professional who will perform services. Mental health professionals may assist patrol officers in the field or in an on-call capacity, provide training on best practices, or provide other services. Grant recipients are encouraged to coordinate with local public safety answering points to maximize the goals of the program.

Within existing resources, the WASPC must consult with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Behavioral Health Administration and the managed care system to develop requirements for participating mental health professionals. Grant recipients must provide training necessary for mental health professionals to operate successfully and competently in partnership with law enforcement agencies. The WASPC must also coordinate with public safety answering points, behavioral health organizations, and the DSHS to develop and incorporate telephone triage criteria and dispatch protocols to assist with mental health, law enforcement, and emergency medical responses involving mental health situations.

Within existing resources, the WASPC must consult with the DSHS Data and Analysis Unit to establish data collection and reporting guidelines for grant recipients. Data must be used to evaluate whether the use of mental health field response improves outcomes of interactions with persons experiencing behavioral health crises.

The WASPC must submit an annual report on the program to the Governor and appropriate committees of the Legislature.

Votes on Final Passage:







(Senate amended)




(House concurred)


June 7, 2018