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Spokane County Wins Grant For Mental Health Stabilization Facility

Spokane County

The state of Washington has awarded Spokane County $1.96 million to build a new triage center for people with mental health and substance abuse problems.

It’s a project county authorities have pursued for several years, says Ariane Schmidt, a regional project manager for the city of Spokane and Spokane County. She says it’s a facility where police officers can bring people they arrest rather than routing them directly to jail.  

“They would be in custody, but they would given an offer by the office to come and receive treatment at this facility instead of being booked. They would have no public defender, no first appearance," Schmidt said.

And as long as they go through treatment and behave themselves, "that charge would eventually be reviewed by the city or county prosecutor within the statute of limitations with the desire that they had the option to completely dismiss it," she said.

The new facility will be located in what is now the county motor pool building. It’s more than a hundred years old and in need of renovation. Schmidt says the state grant will cover about three-fourths of the cost. She says the city, county and other partners are looking for other funds to complete what they need, but given the coronavirus crisis, they process has become more complicated.