Monday, February 06, 2017

Mendocino Co.: No More Cops For Mentally Ill

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports on a new approach to police dealing with the mentally ill in Mendocino County. Sheriff Tom Alman wants to stop sending his deputies to non- violent emergency mental health calls. How this works out remains to be seen. I'd say it's probably a long time in coming, but I have to wonder how effectively the white coated "mental health professionals" will be able to take over?

I've been skeptical for some time when I've heard of law enforcement agencies planning on sending officers to training to deal with "mental health issues". I have to wonder how effective such training might be? I also wonder if the so- called professionals in mental health could do all that much better? If someone is truly a nut case, I'm not sure either law enforcement or civilian mental health  folks would have an edge in dealing with it.

What this might well do, though, is prevent some of the situations where police get into situations that they feel no other way out of aside from gun play, which should make it interesting to see how supposed mental health professionals handle those same situations.


At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help wanted:. Must be unusually buff, agile, patient, steadfast, intelligent, and compassionate. Must be able to wrestle down, outrun, and contain a 200lb person on an adrenaline rush.
Sounds like a job for steer wrestlers!

At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like the ideal solution would be a team approach, with a well-trained mental health worker, and a well-trained cop as backup. Cops may have to take the lead if there is reason to believe the subject may be prone to violence, but otherwise have the mental health worker should take the lead and have the cop hang back and only participate if summoned.

"Well-trained" is a key factor here, as well as being the right kind of mental health worker and the right kind of cop. Mental health worker needs to be both highly competent at assessment and de-escalation, and also have sufficient "street smarts." Cop needs to be firm but compassionate, and focused on law and safety and not overly-focused on "order," as people with mental illnesses can be expected to behave in somewhat "disorderly" ways at times and that doesn't automatically mean they're dangerous. Knowing when odd and off-putting behavior goes far enough to require a law enforcement response -- and when it doesn't -- is a key challenge in these situations and it's crucial that both members of the team share a clear understanding about where that line falls.

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so now the dispatch person is supposed to figure out if mental issue or not .
whats to say its simple mental or if the person took too many drugs and going crazy .
not all those mental cases are simple and some do have weapons that dispatch wasnt told about

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Reads like why cops are usually overweight.......they can sit on the arrestee without much sweat.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Everyone is mental, that is why Sheriff Tom Allman makes some sense on his updated approach.


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