Background

Due to a dramatic increase in the number of calls involving individuals in crisis, the Bellevue Police Department recognizes the need to imagine new ways to respond to these calls and ensure the best outcome for the individual, their family, and the community by diverting them out of the criminal justice system and providing an alternative pathway to address their mental health and behavioral crisis.

In response, Bellevue Police created the Community Crisis Assistance Team (CCAT) in collaboration with Bellevue Fire. CCAT conducted a four-month pilot program occurring between May 1st and August 31st, 2021. During the pilot, CCAT tested three different program models to determine which worked best for Bellevue residents. The program models included officers teaming up with mental health professionals from Bellevue Fire CARES to co-respond to calls requiring crisis response and social services. While every Bellevue police officer is trained in crisis intervention and de-escalation, CCAT members received extensive training in responding to crisis situations. This training included mental health first aid, crisis intervention, trauma, and other topics applicable to their new role in the co-responder model.

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