KC Sheriff’s Office receives funding for mental health response

Two King County Sheriff’s Office projects will receive federal funding, including a mental health co-response team and a rapid DNA processing system.

The federal funding arrives alongside funding for 12 additional projects in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, including infrastructural and community projects.

The King County Sheriff’s Office will receive $963,000 in funding for its mental health co-response team, according to a news release from Congresswoman Kim Schrier.

According to Sgt. Eric White, a spokesperson for the King County Sheriff’s Office, the agency’s Therapeutic Response Unit partners mental health professionals with deputies responding to calls for service involving crisis, de-escalation, and social service referrals for community members “that have an intersection with public safety calls for service.”

According to White, the funding will support the development of the team, including funding supplies and equipment, and training to serve within the sheriff’s office’s jurisdiction where co-response resources do not currently exist, including Maple Valley, Sammamish, and unincorporated King County.

According to Schrier’s news release, the funding will include the cost for a dedicated mental health professional, a dedicated law enforcement officer, vehicle expenses, and ancillary expenses like uniforms, cellphones, training and more for the co-response team.

The King County Sheriff’s Office will receive $811,000 for funding Rapid DNA analysis technology, enabling law enforcement to develop a DNA profile from a reference sample mouth swab in 1 to 2 hours, without the need for a DNA laboratory and without any human interpretation, according to FBI documents.

White said he did not have information to provide regarding the Rapid DNA technology project.

According to Schrier’s news release, the technology will help the Sheriff’s Office identify suspects faster and address a backlog of cases.