Thursday, February 22, 2007

SWAT team or hospital?

Marty Dale Rogers was killed by a police SWAT team, dispatched to his house by mental health providers who said Rogers may have threatened mental health officials earlier that day.

When faced with someone who has severely deteriorated, even mental health providers seem to turn to law enforcement for help.

Watch now for the outcry of the mental health community that law enforcement officers need more training, despite the fact that those same providers are already theoretically fully trained to deal with people in psychosis.

North Carolina has a good law that should have allowed Rogers to get help before he dressed in camouflage and hid in a field with an automatic rifle. Officials said he could have taken out four or five officers if he hadn't himself been shot. It is a tragedy all around, and appropriately enough, the involved officers have been put on leave while there is an investigation.

Would that we could say the same for those charged with treating Mr. Rogers.

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