Sgt. Terry Preuninger, PIO

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 3:42 p.m.

The Department of Social and Health Services’ Eastern State Hospital and the Spokane Police Department are collaborating together with the implementation of a new in-patient program – Community Outreach with Patients through Affirmative Law Enforcement Conversations or COP TALK.

COP TALK was spearheaded by a nurse at Eastern State Hospital who also became a Spokane reserve police officer, when she saw an opportunity for officers to better respond to individuals experiencing mental illness. This program establishes relationships between patients and police officers prior to discharge. These relationships are important so patients know how to respond when interacting with law enforcement – especially if they are in crisis, and police officers understand better what a patient experiencing mental illness is going through so they are better equipped to handle these situations. 

“We are already seeing the positive impact this program is having on our patients,” stated Mark Kettner, Chief Executive Officer of Eastern State Hospital.

“Working together collaboratively with Eastern State Hospital has provided a tremendous opportunity for both organizations to significantly impact a very vulnerable population for the positive,” said Craig Meidl, Chief of Police for Spokane Police Department.

A press conference will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 13 in the Education Conference Room at Eastern State Hospital. Media will be able to hear from Mark Kettner, Chief Executive Officer and Craig Meidl, Chief of Spokane Police; both will share more details about this terrific partnership. Eastern State Hospital is located at 850 West Maple Street in Medical Lake, Wash.

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