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Training program helps police officers balance safety with sensitivity

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Officer Steve Albrecht, retired, San Diego Police Department

“The emphasis is sort of like ‘armed social work’ where the clinician tries to find treatment programs, better family support and medical care for the chronically mentally ill person, while the officer provides protection and evaluates for criminality issues.”

Doris A. Fuller, executive director, Treatment Advocacy Center

“Fewer officers would come under attack and fewer people with mental illness would die from these encounters if more people with mental illness were getting the treatment they need when they need it.”

Lt. Jim Uptegrove, retired, Galt Police Department

“Mental illness or not, officers are dealing with the situation as it unfolds. There aren’t going to be any allowances because the person has mental illness.”

Posted: Saturday, February 8, 2014 12:00 am

In North Carolina, an 18-year-old diagnosed with schizophrenia was shot and killed by police who were responding during a crisis.

In Montreal, police reported that a 41-year-old man with an unidentified mental illness was brandishing a hammer when officers caught up with him — behaving erratically and smashing windows. When he jumped atop a squad car, officers shot him at least four times in the chest. He later died at a hospital.

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