So I've been trying to brainstorm over the last week about this blog...maybe come up with a daily 'theme' to keep me motivated on writing it. Hell I can't even remember if I mentioned the theme idea in my last post. In the past I'd just waited for stories to come to me to share here.
But "Mental" Monday is one idea that I keep coming back to. No, not to make fun of people with mental issues. But sadly it is the police who deal with people with mental issues far more often than they should. In a suburban bubble world, one would think that people with mental health problems are dealt with at home, and then with therapists and counselors and qualified professional medical help.
Unfortunately that's just not the case.
Today J and other deputies had to escort a combative person down four flights of hotel stairs. Screaming and ranting the entire way, in anger at them and at her family. As it turns out, she had already done this on a flight earlier today. Her anger this time: at losing a compact disc that was of high value to her. Naturally, a healthy person writes off the loss of a CD and buys a new one. With any luck it's available for free Super Saver Shipping on Amazon, and it's on your doorstep a week later. Or you go down to Best Buy and pick it up. Maybe you pout about the loss of the CD; maybe you can't get that cover art anymore or your copy was autographed.
This person resorted to screaming obscenities at her family. For hours at a time. J and the other deputy he was with at the time knew already that this woman was suffering from some mental health disorder, and because they are decent human beings, tried diligently to speak to her in civil, calming tones. Finally they put her in handcuffs and took her straight to the clinic that she is in Ohio to get help at.
This was actually a fairly tame example of typical, similar calls. Often they are called to help find missing persons. Technically their job is Law Enforcement, and being schizophrenic or bipolar isn't illegal. But so often the police are called because they are more easily available and more readily equipped to deal with combative, angry, irrational people.
It does end up that all too often, the people who commit crimes are mentally ill. A disturbing portion of people sitting on death row are mentally retarded, or borderline.
It occurred to me while listening to J recount today's story that in general, the police are trained to deal with fighters. They're trained to deal with drunks, druggies, belligerent assholes, angry people, psychopaths, etc. But there really aren't a lot of in-services or external courses offered to teach them to deal with a SIGNIFICANT portion of the people they deal with on a daily basis. Sad.