Police and the mentally ill

By: Nick LaFave
By: Nick LaFave

Lt. Bruce Ferguson with the LPD says it's rare they know ahead of time a subject's mental condition. When they arrive (i.e. at a person's residence), they are trained to assess the environment. If there are a lot of perscription drugs, asking for a doctor, family... there are likely mental issues at play.

Bob Sheehan, director of the Ingham, Eaton, Clinton Community Mental Health says police should simply take extra care when working with a mentally ill subject.

Both Sheehan and Ferguson agree, however, priorities never change no matter the subject. The number one concern... safety of the officers and the people they're dealing with.

Sheehan adds, the Tri-County CMH has 23-hundred patients living in the community suffering from schizophrenia, depression and bi-polar disorder. But, those are never excuses for violence.

He says the CMH belief is that these people can interact in society just like anyone else.


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