Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Moman Honored - Let Freedom Ring 2019 First Responder of the Year Award
Last week, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Daniel Moman was named the “Let Freedom Ring 2019 First Responder of the Year” by Greater Spokane Incorporated and the Spokane Lilac Festival Association. Deputy Moman was selected to receive this award for his outstanding work as a Deputy in addition to his dedication while implementing and serving as a member of the Spokane County Mental Health Field Response Team. This team consists of Deputy Moman, trained in Crisis Intervention, and Mental Health Professional Holly Keller, a Master Level Clinician. Partnered as co-responders in a patrol car, they respond to potential mental health-related calls to improve mental health field response.
On May 16, 2019, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Moman learned his work as a first responder, and specifically, his work implementing and being a member of the Spokane County Mental Health Field Response Team was being recognized. At the 63rd Annual Let Freedom Ring Awards Event, Greater Spokane Incorporated and the Spokane Lilac Festival Association selected Deputy Moman as the, 2019 Let Freedom Ring First Responder of the Year.
After receiving this honor, Deputy Moman was quick to point out he wasn’t alone and recognized his co-responder and partner, Master Level Clinician and Mental Health Professional, Holly Keller.
Deputy Moman said he was truly honored to be nominated and accept the award representing the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Regarding the Mental Health Response Team, he said the partnership with Frontier Behavioral Health (FBH) has been vital for the success of the mental health co-responder program. Deputy Moman specifically credits the help and support of his co-deployed partner, Mental Health Professional (MHP) Holly Keller.
“We work together in partnership with the same goals for response and outcomes. We speak each other’s language and are a bridge between law enforcement and the mental health field. This has created a unique partnership to help people in our community who are in crisis.”
Sheriff Knezovich stated, “We are extremely proud of the hard work and professionalism of Deputy Moman. He and his partner, MHP Holly Keller, are providing an invaluable service to the citizens of Spokane County. The partnership with Frontier Behavioral Health is a good first step as we try to face our mental health crisis head-on. However, let’s be clear, despite the success of this program, treating mental health on the street is a result of a failed mental health system and puts law enforcement, citizens, and those suffering a mental health crisis, at risk.”
Spokane County Mental Health Field Response Team was first deployed in late November of 2018 after the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office was awarded an $89,000 grant to expand its mental health field response capabilities. The funds were awarded by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) as a part of a $1 million program established by the Washington State Legislature. A total of eight grants were awarded to law enforcement agencies in both western and eastern Washington.
Mental health is the number one public safety issue facing Washington and people experiencing mental health crisis are not necessarily committing crimes, but communities continue to rely on law enforcement to respond to these mental health crises. The Mental Health Field Response Team focuses on sending help where help is needed. This co-responder team is a partnership that promotes positive interactions between the public and law enforcement, thereby reducing the possibility of the need to use force, which improves public safety overall. Instead of booking someone into jail or involuntarily detaining a person in need and releasing them to a hospital, they might be connected with available services or diverted to a more appropriate facility. It can often take hours for a Deputy to get a bed at local hospitals for a person in crisis who has been involuntarily detained for being a danger to themselves or others. The strength of this team is its ability to spend more time resolving a crisis and when possible, connect persons who are in crisis with appropriate services based on their needs. The team’s goal is to increase the level of service during all levels of crisis while returning patrol Deputies to service as quickly as possible.
Since the team inception in November 2018, through the end of April 2019, Deputy Moman and MHP Holly Keller, as a co-responder team, have contacted almost 300 (297 persons in active crisis) persons. These contacts saved an estimated 14,248 minutes of patrol time, meaning it freed up other patrol Deputies usually needed to handle this type of response which allowed them to respond to additional calls for service. During their contacts, the co-responder team provided the specific help needed to the person in crisis without the need to use force beyond applying handcuffs when the situation dictated the need.