Sgt. Steve Groehn recently shared this article with me. It is right on point on a topic we’ve been discussing a great deal, recently because we are concerned. With a tough economy additional stresses are placed on families who have members with mental health challenges. For those who have no families it falls to government to find a way to cope. The system is breaking down and police are left as the only 24×7 resources to deal with people in crisis. Every day I listen to call after call dispatched in our community and others in our area of the county that involve suicidal people, assaultive people, people in crisis as a result of mental health issues.
This article from the Washington Post tells a story that could have been here just as easily as it was in Virginia. Police are not well equipped to deal with mental illness and we have few resources to help us. The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards publishes a policy intended to give police some guidance. In the last month we have jointly sponsored with Oakland University Police training from MCOLES for officers on dealing with the mentally ill. We’re doing the best we can with what we have to work with.