Rehab facility changes policy to work with Spokane Co. Sheriff

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by WHITNEY WARD & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 9 at 11:02 AM

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.--It has been more than one year since Charles Wallace went on a rampage and shot two Spokane County Sheriff's deputies.

Authorities said Wallace vowed never to go back to jail again after walking away from drug rehabilitation. Officers had been trying to track Wallace in the days leading up to the shooting. Yet, authorities said they ran into an issue when the rehabilitation facility staff said they could not reveal any information about the patient.

“The door was actually shut in the deputy's face,” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

On Tuesday, both sides sat down to find a solution.

Leaders from SCSO and American Behavioral Health admitted they were frustrated over the last year and a half because they were both trying to follow the law.

Authorities claimed that violent criminals, who had been ordered to rehab, simply walked away from the facility only to commit more crime on multiple occasions.

American Behavioral Health Business Director Craig Phillips said he understands Knezovich’s frustration.

“I wish I'd been called,” he added. “I wish my employees had called me.”

Phillips said part of the problem has always been knowing if patients are there as part of a court order. Clients are now asked to sign a waiver according to Phillips. The waiver states that if patients do not comply with treatment than law enforcement will be notified.
   
“If they don't want to comply by those rules, then they can't come into treatment,” said Phillips.

He also set up a supervisor's contact list for police 24-7.

“We'll be resolving these issues real-time, instead of 2-3 days later,” stated Knezovich.

Both men said the new system will take time to implement, but parts of it are already underway. Employees at all of the system's rehabilitation facilities will start receiving training to continue making improvements.

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