Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program
The Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP) is a comprehensive grant program that focuses on mitigating firearm violence-related risks and identifying connections between firearms and intimate partner abusers and mass violence, community violence and violence against law enforcement.
The Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP) was created and funded by Congress in 2022 through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 (Pub. L. No. 117-159, 136 Stat. 1313, 1339); 28 U.S.C. 530C. Through grant awards from the US Department of Justice, each state is allocated a share of the money based on population and crime rates. The funds are intended to assist state, local, and tribal efforts to prevent or reduce gun violence through various strategies including, but not limited to
- Training to improve implementation of protection orders involving firearms
- Communication, education, and public awareness about protection orders
- Specialized court-based approaches such as drug, mental health, and veterans treatment courts, including those that specifically accept clients with firearm violations
- Behavioral health deflection for those at risk to themselves or others
- Funding for law enforcement agencies to safely secure, store, track, and return relinquished guns
- Research to determine the effectiveness in preventing violence and suicide
The SCIP program will run for at least five years. Through grant processes, subawards will be made from the Department of Commerce to government agencies, nonprofit organizations, consultants, researchers, and other qualifying entities, building on efforts already started in the state. At least 40% of the funding will be passed through to local and tribal governments.
SCIP provides our state with a timely opportunity to improve on current efforts to mitigate firearm-related risks. Research has increasingly identified connections between armed intimate partner abusers and mass violence, community violence, and violence against law enforcement. Suicides constitute 75% of firearm fatalities in Washington. For all of these types of lethal risks, one of the most important harm reduction measures is court orders that prohibit firearm possession by individuals who present a heightened risk of harm. We know there are steps that can be taken to more effectively, timely, and uniformly issue, serve, and enforce those orders.
In recent years, Washington state has adopted laws to address gun violence including laws:
- Authorizing Extreme Risk Protection Orders allowing family and household members or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from a person who is a threat to self or others
- Requiring firearm dealers to notify law enforcement when an individual prohibited from firearm possession attempts to purchase firearms
- Mandating temporary removal of firearms and presenting firearms licensing and purchase history to the court when there is a 911 response to a domestic violence incident
- Requiring notification of victims before firearms are returned to a person formerly subject to an order or prohibition
- Strengthening firearms prohibitions and procedures for all types of civil protection orders
These measures are constructed to safeguard the constitutional rights of an individual subject to their application. Sustainable, comprehensive, and consistent implementation and enforcement of these laws are essential to their effectiveness. This requires concerted, coordinated, and timely actions taken by courts, law enforcement, victim advocates, prosecutors, and others working in and with the civil and criminal legal systems.
Washington’s Byrne SCIP Program Plan
Washington’s Byrne SCIP program plan and budget will be developed in coordination with, and demonstrate evidence of approval by, the SCIP Advisory Board. Building on ongoing efforts in the state, the preliminary, anticipated program plan for Washington’s Byrne SCIP includes:
- Taking steps to identify, implement, and institutionalize best practice protocols,
- Developing and deploying needed training;
- Building organizational capacity and structures within and among system partners including funding for law enforcement agencies to safely secure, store, track, and return relinquished guns, and programs to support safe gun storage;
- Engaging with research and other partners to strengthen data collection and analysis, evaluation, and reporting to understand and improve the effectiveness of the implementation and enforcement of court orders;
- Engaging subject matter experts and communications specialists to develop and distribute current, consistent, accurate, and easy-to-use information for petitioners, respondents, health care professionals, educators, victims service providers, advocates, court personnel, law enforcement, or others involved in increasing awareness of, explaining, seeking, serving, complying with, or enforcing Washington’s civil laws involving court-ordered firearm relinquishment; and
- Taking steps to support the scaling up of successful models being implemented in King County, Spokane, and Yakima, and in other states and communities across the country.
Community Safety Programs
SCIP Advisory Board Members
- Kate Kelly, co-Chair
- Judge Anne Levinson, (Ret.), co-Chair
- Judge Jackie Brown, Benton-Franklin Superior Court
- Emma Catague
- Adam Cornell, Snohomish Co. Prosecuting Attorney (Ret.)
- Melisa Evangelos, JD, Assistant Director Tacoma Probono Community Lawyers
- Renee Hopkins, CEO Alliance for Gun Responsibility
- Jolaine Joseph, Educational Psychologist and Survivor
- Susie Kroll, MHP
- Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, MD, PhD, MPH, UW Professor of Epidemiology
- Chief Judge Cindy K. Smith, Suquamish Tribal Court
- Chief Dan Templeman, Everett Police Department
- Kim Wyatt, ERPO Prosecuting Attorney, Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit, King Co.