The Co-Responders Outreach Alliance (CROA) is an organization consisting of first responders, behavioral health professionals, and project managers working in the co-response field. The organization was created in 2018 and represents police and fire agencies from across Washington State. CROA has a three part mission: (1) to enhance the understanding of co-response programs and co-response best practices in Washington State (2) to promote the use of co-response to assist individuals with behavioral health issues (3) to advocate for laws and policies that support co-response where appropriate—and other programs and approaches when not. CROA is nonpartisan and non ideological. Members support practical, real world approaches and opportunities to collaborate.
More About Co-response
While the forms of co-response have changed, the goals of the approach are consistent. First responders are often the only field based responders for individuals struggling with mental illness, mental health issues, substance use, and other behavioral health issues. Co-response aims to de-escalate these situations, improve the quality of interactions, promote safety, and facilitate access to care. An emerging body of evidence suggests that these programs reduce arrests, incarceration, and emergency room visits—and effectively connect people to needed care. Further, co-response teams often enhance collective impact by promoting care coordination among agencies and between health care and criminal justice systems.
Co-responder programs have a 50 year history, but many programs were launched in the last 5-10 years. There is a high demand, nationally and internationally, for opportunities to exchange ideas, share best practices, and prepare for new demands. CROA is proud to be a resource for jurisdictions exploring co-response, and agencies looking to improve their programs.
- Board Chair – Kim Hendrickson, Director of City of Poulsbo’s Housing Health and Human Services Department, and Project Manager of the Poulsbo Fire CARES Program
- Policy & Advocacy Lead – Carrie Christiansen, Spokane Police Department
- Member Resources – Brook Buettner, RADAR Navigator Program Manager
- Website Lead – Zee Andrignis, Mental Health Professional Supervisor for the Seattle Police Department Crisis Response Team
- Membership Lead – Ashley Dawson, Program Manager for LEAD – Snohomish County
- Meetings Lead – Kelli Roark, City of Everett
- Natasha Grossman, Program Manager for Bellevue Fire C.A.R.E.S.
- Joseph Frank, Captian, Bellingham Fire Department
- Malora Christensen, Response Systems Manager, Whatcom County Health Department
- Amy King, Acting Lieutenant Community Policing, Olympia PD
- Jon Ehrenfeld, Program Manager, Seattle Fire Department Mobile Integrated Health
- Mike Jackson, Division Chief, Clark County Fire and Rescue