Thursday, August 28, 2008

Helping Police on the Line

“It could be your uncle, your cousin, your sister, your baby, your son or your daughter. You never know who's going to come up with mental illness.”  That was the advice given recently to Wichita, Kan. police by Carr Floyd at a training session aimed at better protection for people with mental illness by law enforcement.

Floyd, who suffers from a mental illness, could see fear from both sides of the issue as her mother was a police officer.

“I know you’re just as scared as we are, at least that’s what Mom always said,” Floyd commented.  “She said that you never know what you’re stepping into.  But realize we’re just as scared of you as you are of us.” 

Studies show that in such situations it is more often than not the person with mental illness who becomes the victim.  This is something that people with a mental illness, like Floyd intuitively know. 

I can tell you if you come in aggressive with someone with mental illness, someone is going to get hurt. And it's probably going to be the person with mental illness,” Floyd told the Wichita Eagle

While it is unfortunate that the lack of treatment for people with mental illnesses too often put police officers in avoidable situations, the more such trainings occur the better, at least until assisted outpatient treatment is made more widely available.