World Mental Health Day: Policing the mentally ill

A man's cry for help turns into a standoff with Tyler police. Coincidentally today is "World Mental Health Day".

A man's cry for help turned into a standoff with Tyler police Monday. Coincidentally, on World Mental Health Day.
 
It's serving as a reminder to East Texas law enforcement about just how crucial it is to train their officers how to deal with people suffering from mental disorders.
 
Detective Andy Erbaugh with Tyler Police said the department trains all officers in "Crisis Intervention Training."
 
Crisis Intervention Training is a first responder model of policing. 
 
"We deal with people with mental illness... that ranges from dementia, to schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder," said Erbaugh. 
 
He said when dealing with the mentally ill, there are people who they don't hear you.
 
"They hear the voices in their head, or they don't want to hear you," he said. "To be able to calm a person down who's facing a manic episode or direct a person whose schizophrenic is important." 
 
With that training officers were able to quickly put Monday's standoff to a close. Erbaugh said negotiators were called in because the man was in a car. 
 
"He had a weapon and he hasn't coming out. It ended quickly," he said. "He called the police because he wanted help and we're glad it came to a good close. He'll get the help that he needs." 
 
Erbaugh hopes this incident and World Mental Health day serves as a reminder for everyone, not just police. 
 
"If you know someone or a family member who's suffering from these diseases, that they might be able to get their family member or their neighbor some help before we [police] get involved," said Erbaugh. 
 
"But if we do get involved, it is our goal to help them, not arrest them and make their life harder than it already is."
 
For information on how you can help yourself or a loved one, click here.

 

(© 2016 KYTX)


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