Law EnforcementReality

Responding to Mental Health Subjects: a Modest Proposal

U.S.A. – So you think that law enforcement is responding incorrectly to out-of-control mentally or drug deranged subjects and that the mental subjects are needlessly dying? Well, I have a solution for that.

Law enforcement isn’t the appropriate entity to be calling for these issues in the first place. Law enforcement’s job is to “enforce law”…not deal with what are clearly mental-health issues which are the provenance of the mental-health disciplines.

So here’s what you do; The county (or whoever is in control of emergency medical services) hires a team to crew one ambulance per every 8 or 12 hour shift that is comprised of;

• One Psychiatrist/Psychologist
• One Attorney
• Two UNARMED Security Guards
• Two EMTs

It will be the responsibility of this team to take all calls regarding any suspected mental-health issues, whether they are armed or not, such as naked person walking down the street… with a knife/gun. Law enforcement will not be sent to these calls because they have already been deemed incapable of handling these calls correctly by psychiatrists/psychologists and attorneys.

Now it will be the psychiatrists/psychologists and attorneys who will get to show their professionalism and show us all how such matters are properly handled.

No more will there be lengthy waits in the hospital tying up a bed because a fully trained and qualified psychiatrist/psychologist will be immediately on hand to make a determination whether the mental health subject is a “danger to himself or others” …as the mental health subject chases him or her around the house or yard with a butcher knife. The psychiatrists/psychologists who have been telling law enforcement for so long how to deal with such and that we don’t have to hurt them can now show law enforcement just how that is accomplished without any use of force. And of course the psychiatrist/psychologist will be the team leader.

The attorney will be a very valuable asset to the team because he or she will be there running alongside of the psychiatrist/psychologist giving them advice on how to not violate the mental health subject’s rights… as they are chased by the knife-wielding mental health subject. Yes, the attorney is there to keep the county out of trouble with lawsuits and to protect the rights of the mental health subject… as they themselves are chased by the knife-wielding mental health subject. But this should be no problem for the attorney. Remember, they’re all the time telling law enforcement what they did wrong… so the attorney knows how to do it just right, of course.

The two unarmed security guards? Why they are there to keep anybody from interfering with the psychiatrist/psychologist and the attorney. Why no… they will not be assisting the psychiatrist/psychologist and attorney because that would violate one of the most common complaints, that there would be 3, 4, 5 on one and that’s wrong! No, the psychiatrist/psychologist and attorney should be just fine dealing with the knife-wielding mental health subject because they have told us all so many times how law enforcement “should” have done it… without so many people.

The two EMTs? They stay inside the locked ambulance until the psychiatrist/psychologist and attorney have the knife-wielding mental health subject under control and properly restrained as appropriate to the incident. Only then are they to exit the ambulance and treat injuries (But, of course there won’t be any — since the psychiatrist/psychologist and attorney know what they’re doing). In cases where gunshots or a gun are reported they will park a block away from the address and the psychiatrist/psychologist, attorney, and unarmed security guards can walk the rest of the way.

Oh, don’t worry about the unarmed security guards — the psychiatrist/psychologist and attorney are professionals and know how to “talk” down a violent knife or gun-wielding mental health subject safely as they so often insist that law enforcement should be able to do.

The cost? Why the offsets of what would certainly be a reduction in lawsuits, wasted officer hours sitting in a hospital for a mental commitment, and simply thinking of the value of a life, makes the cost completely acceptable.

It’s time we put the “professionals” where they will do the most good.

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