Police confront rising number of mentally ill suspects


Police officers find themselves playing two roles as law enforcers and psychiatric social workers. There are many suspects out here who are considered mentally ill, but at the same time officers wouldn’t recognize the issue until the man has been shot and killed because he simply just pulled out a weapon. I believe most Officers respond in a way to protect, not deliberately kill for the sake of it.

What do you think as a human service professional?

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4 Responses to Police confront rising number of mentally ill suspects

  1. This is a a great article, it exposes the fact that the training police officers receive does not prepare them for the mentally ill individuals they may come in contact with. As a human service professional I feel that this issue began with deinstitutionalization. What was thought to be a wonderful idea to assist the mentally ill without hospitalization, over the years has forced some individuals to live on the streets. There are those who do not require to be hospitalized and can be treated in an outpatient setting, but there are those who may “fall between the cracks” and end up homeless. Once homeless they usually end up interacting with the law, and the result is usually negative. I am hoping that the Mayor’s prison reform will bring about a change, which may include every law enforcement officer being trained to identify a mentally ill individual, and act accordingly (Which should include assist, not take down).

  2. I agree with Heather! Officers are trained to take down not assist. They are put to believe that they need to take care of situation as soon as possible no matter the cause. I also think that they have so many things to hide behind that they really don’t care to think about anything else. For example, they have guns and when put into an uncomfrotable situation instead of thinking of ways to solve the problem they just pull out their guns. They are not well trained for every situation and now more than ever we are starting to notice.

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