LOUISIANA – Copicide, or suicide by cop is nothing new. But with increased calls for service involving mentally ill citizens, police officers are challenged daily in this area.
Moments after blue lights went on for a simple seatbelt violation last Friday, a traffic stop transitioned into a high-speed chase and crash onto a busy intersection.
Officer Darrell Marcev quickly learned the situation was far from over.
“When he exits the vehicle swinging a knife and says, ‘Shoot me, just shoot me,’ then I realized there’s something else going on here with him,” he said.
Rene Jaunet tried to stab himself with a machete, but police were able to intervene, reported WWLTV. They obtained the mental health assistance he needed, and his wife offered praise.
“We were in the process of trying to get him help, the day before and that day, so I’m sad that it ended up like that, but I’m grateful at the fact of the way the police responded and didn’t hurt him,” said Rachelle Jaunet.
Saturday, in small-town Franklinton, police found themselves facing a similar attempted suicide-by-cop.
“She brandished a weapon, stuck it out the door and at that point it becomes a tense situation,” said Franklinton Police Maj. Justin Brown.
That woman was also stopped and hospitalized. But we need to face up to the barrage of people requiring mental health services.
“When they get the feeling of hopelessness or they’re no longer needed, then at that point, a person who may not even have a mental health issue can immediately become someone who is wanting to commit suicide,” said Brown.
Additional training and advanced concepts are required of modern police officers facing these issues, for their safety and the safety of others.
“We’re looking at the educational possibilities to be able to recognize mentally ill patients and start looking at de-escalation procedures while we’re dealing with them,” said Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal.
The effort is in line with the goal to always preserve life, when possible.
(Photo courtesy Eric Jackson)