Jails around the world have de facto turned into warehouses of the severely mentally ill and the very people who deal with them when in crisis, are too often, men and women who carry badges, guns or taser guns.
Of course it was not supposed to turn out this way. The consumers (people suffering from a mental illness) who are released from psychiatric hospitals, as well as those who would once have been confined to such places, were supposed to have been treated in community based psychiatric clinics but most of them were never built. Now the cycle too often runs from the streets, to arrest and jail and then back to the streets.
Police officers admit that this is not the kind of work that they should be doing but the situation will not change in the foreseeable future. The police must become equipped to deal appropriately with people suffering from mental illness through better training and awareness.