Community Responder Program
Partners in Crisis Response
The City’s new Community Responder team of five trained Mental Health Professionals responds to 9-1-1 calls in coordination with Kirkland police officers and/or firefighter / emergency medical technicians when a call for service has an underlying behavioral health component. Although responding with public safety personnel, the innovative new Community Responder Program is housed in the City Manager’s Office. One of the objectives of program is to reduce over-reliance on police as a primary response to 9-1-1 calls involving community members in behavioral health crises. The Community Responder Program was initially funded in the City’s 2021-2022 budget as part of the Community Safety Initiative.
In this photo, Interim Communitiy Responder Supervisor Renee Cox meets community members during the 2022 National Night Out Event.
Meet Your Community Responders
Renee Cox - Interim Community Responder Supervisor
Renee transitioned into the City’s Community Responder Program in January 2022 after more than eight years working with the Kirkland Police Department as a contracted mental health professional. As Interim Community Responder Program Supervisor, Renee utilizes her extensive experience in community mental health and direct client support to shape this brand new program, with a particular emphasis on building the new team. She’s an MHP who has held an independent license for 21 years and has a master’s degree in Community Counseling from City University of Seattle. Renee has also trained thousands of Washington state law enforcement officers in verbal de-escalation through the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJCT).
Robert Rebecca - Community Responder
Robert joins the Community Responder team as the latest hire under the new program. As a mental health professional (MHP) who is licensed in the state of Washington, he brings experience managing a permanent supportive housing program, establishing a medication-assisted treatment program for people who use drugs, and worked at a crisis center. Most recently, Robert served on the co-responder team for Pierce County, a similar role he will serve on Kirkland’s nascent program. He has a master’s degree from The Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago and serves on the board for the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology.
Kimberly Hardy - Community Responder
Kimberly holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Washington State University, a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Northwest University, and a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of the Cumberlands. Hardy also served a variety of military duties in the Navy from Guantanamo Bay Cuba to Recruit Training Command boot camp.
Molly Kitz - Community Responder
Molly began her career as a detention officer and quickly recognized the severe lack of mental health treatment available for people who are incarcerated or newly released. She now holds master’s degrees in clinical mental health counseling and substance abuse counseling from the University of the Cumberlands. Kitz is experienced working with incarcerated youth and adults and managing mental health crises as a social worker.
Frequently Asked Questions (under development)