A Former Police Officer's View on Mental Health
I am not a doctor or a therapist. These are my opinions on the article A Former Police Officer’s View on Mental Health and living with someone with mental illness issues. I believe I can talk about this subject knowledgeably.
Police Officer's View on Mental Health
How I see society look at people with a mental illness or issue is mostly very narrow-mindedly and with prehistoric attitudes. Recently, we have brought up the issue of how police deal with people with mental illness. Society stopped housing the mentally ill for understandable reasons. They were mistreated and tortured in most facilities.
Also, they lost funding since, again, states and such lost interest in funding these facilities, putting all these people on the street to try and get help wherever they could from anyone that would help. That also meant that police now became the “tamers of the animals,” as I have heard it put before.
Trust me when I tell you that officers receive minimal training to interact and approach someone with mental illness. First, suppose the person is off their medications. In that case, it can be a very long standoff, but officers typically want to jump right in and solve the problem quickly, so time is not on the mentally incapacitated person’s side.
We see people tazed, pepper sprayed, and even shot in this rush to get the job done. Recently we have heard of a young man who died just in a wrestling match with the officers.
As a former officer, believe me, I understand that fighting and wrestling with several officers can severely strain a person’s body. The adrenaline and heart rate increase could cause such a thing as death if not appropriately dealt with as fast as possible, not to mention having three or more men on top of you will make breathing challenging. Abuse victims are treated very poorly. In many cases, the abuser is treated better than the victim.
Problems with the Departments
Many departments to this day side with the abuser, not all but some, and in this day and age, there is no excuse for this. We know better, and yet it is still not fixed. Departments today should be Accredited. This would be the first step to becoming a police agency for the people.
Today we still see agencies that take abuse calls as a waste of time, and I’ve even seen the abused locked up, not the abuser. Police agencies need to have a council that is made up of the people in the area. It needs to be rotated just like jury duty so that all people can help to see that the police in their area are getting the proper training and guidance to help not hurt abuse or rape victims.
In the old days, we hired police because they were Military or had a mindset of fighting and were typically big and ready to go to battle at any given moment. Look at the Bobbies in England. They aren’t big. They don’t even carry a gun. Please don’t get me wrong, I support officers and carrying weapons, but they need so much more. They need to understand that some things need time. They need to be patient and not expect to clear a call in 5 mins no matter what they are dealing with.
Society has come a long way in some things, and in some, they are still in the dark ages. This is something that local towns and counties, and states need to work with the people on.
Start small. Things you can do
It’s funny police separate themselves from society because they say the community doesn’t understand them. Well, that’s why society needs to be involved with its law enforcement agencies.
Look in your area and see if there is a council or people’s committee for your local police, become involved and if not, then start one. It’s time to stop the unfair treatment of all people by old school beliefs …. by everyone.
James Maxwell is a safety and security manager with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in safety and/or security program startups and SOP manuals and has also been responsible for initializing training programs for several companies. James started his own consulting company in 2011 and has worked with several companies, the largest being Roush Industries. James is a powerful presence in the workplace and uses his positive attitude and energy to encourage others to work tirelessly towards success. James is inspired daily by his wife and their two sons. In his free time, James likes to read, golf, and study for his next challenge, Real Estate.
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