The Vancouver Police Department announced Friday that it is partnering with a community-based organization to start a pilot program aimed at improving access to mental health services and treatments.
The city will share grant funding with Sea Mar, a federally qualified health center, to add three full-time mental health responder positions to assist Vancouver police officers in the field “in an on-call capacity during peak (police response) hours,” the police department announced in a news release.
The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs awarded nearly $315,000 to Vancouver to establish the pilot program. The money is part of $2 million set aside by the Washington Legislature. Nine grants were awarded statewide.
Funds were originally received in September 2019 to share with Clark County and Sea Mar. The Vancouver City and Clark County councils and the health center approved agreements for the use of the money in the following months.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has taught many lessons, one of them the need to strengthen the country’s health system to respond to a national or global health emergency.
One of the solutions proposed in the House of Representatives is the creation of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), a pool of health professionals who the government may call to serve in times of pandemic or public health emergency.
Eleven measures have been filed in the 299-man Lower Chamber that sought the creation of the MRC to ensure that the healthcare system is “resilient” and “never overwhelmed” during emergencies.
“We would not have to worry about the health system crashing due