Snoqualmie Police Dept. Mental Health Professional Stephanie Butler - who began working alongside first responders in the cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend in September 2022 - has already made a big impact by supporting the community and public safety officers.
In her first six months, she assisted with 61 calls – 44 in Snoqualmie and 17 in North Bend. Butler’s areas of assistance include welfare checks, suspicious activity, suicidal subjects, involuntary treatment, domestic violence, crisis intervention, child abuse/neglect, and adult protective services referrals
Making a Difference
Butler recently helped a young child in a car-train collision in downtown Snoqualmie. One of the first on the scene, she spoke with a young child in the backseat while first responders assisted the driver. The child, who was initially frightened, soon calmed with her care.
In another incident, a community member called about a friend who had mentioned self-harm. Butler, who was riding with an officer, spoke at length with the reporting person while they located the friend. Once located, Butler was able to help the individual on a path to assistance. The reporting person later wrote to the Snoqualmie Police Department, “Our community is in a much better place with Stephanie. I want to ensure you and the department know how impactful she is.”
Butler has also made a difference helping individuals who frequently call first responders by providing long-term assistance. Repeat calls of this nature are now substantially reduced, freeing up first responders for additional calls. Butler also contributes to officers’ health and wellness through listening and supporting first responders.
In addition, because police reform involves mental health professionals, Butler is instrumental in regional meetings and trainings. She has already attended two crisis negotiation sessions for mental health professionals, work that will also inform her local duties.
Butler’s role and contributions help police build relationships with residents, not only from a law enforcement perspective, but also from a community viewpoint. Snoqualmie Police Chief Perry Phipps said, “Ms. Butler is an asset to our cities and our department. Her expertise is already creating better outcomes for community members in need.”
The Behavioral Health Emergency Response Program
The City of Snoqualmie received a state grant to fund a pilot behavioral health emergency response program to support first responders serving the communities of North Bend and Snoqualmie. The $150,000 grant is part of recently passed state legislation designed to increase quality behavioral health co-response services and will fund this new position specializing in the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders through June 2023. The cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend have agreed to continue funding the position when the grant period ends.