MENTAL ILLNESS IN THE FIRING LINE


From The Australian newspaper: October 12, 2012

Police officers must change the way that they deal with people suffering from psychosis. Too many are dying needlessly.

Two coroner’s inquests have investigated circumstances surrounding the deaths of two people suffering from psychosis during two separate confrontations with police officers.

A Brazilian tourist was allegedly shot 14 times with a Taser gun during his arrest. In another incident, a female police sergeant shot a man during a confrontation in his kitchen.

There is mounting evidence that drug-induced psychotic episodes are on the increase.
Dealing with mentally unstable citizens can be dangerous as well as challenging.

Many years ago, before the use of Tasers, police officers spoke calmly and compassionately to these people. They listened and watched their reactions, and although it took longer, they waited for the episode to pass, and in most cases, escorted the individual personally to a psychiatric facility. Taser guns, pepper spray and extendable batons are not the answer.

Some years ago, I was invited to a National Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. They started the Crisis Intervention Training Program, C.I.T, which gives police officers the tools needed to handle various situations involving police officers and people in a psychotic state. This has been proven to be a good way of handling these situations.C.I.T is being used in many states in America.

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