RADAR (Response Awareness, De-escalation And Referral) is an effort by the Police Departments in Bothell, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Kirkland to address the rights and needs of individuals with behavioral health issues and/or developmental disabilities (BH/DD).
RADAR aims to decrease use-of-force incidents between police and individuals with BH/DD, offering connection to services and resources through a Mental Health Professional (MHP) Navigator accompanied by a law enforcement co-responder. MHP Navigators focus on moving people into community-based and long term systems of care to reduce reliance on the crisis and criminal legal systems and to improve outcomes.
RADAR encourages the building of relationships between police and the populations they serve and the sharing of information amongst first responders to allow a more effective and safe response during a time of crisis. Through communication and collaborative planning, RADAR seeks to reduce use of force incidents engendered by fear or misunderstanding.
The program went into effect January 1, 2017 and was evaluated by researchers at George Mason University and the Police Foundation in 2018. It is staffed by a Program Coordinator, several mental health professionals (RADAR Navigators) and specially trained patrol officers.
The unique inter-jurisdictional nature of the RADAR program recognizes that people often move throughout a region, and capitalizes on economies of scale in staffing and administration. The creation and operation of RADAR has been made possible by early funding through the King County Sheriff’s Office, and the financial support of the United States Department of Justice through the Bureau of Justice Assistance Smart Policing Initiative, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), and the King County Mental Illness Drug Dependency (MIDD) Behavioral Health Sales Tax Fund.