Why isn’t the media covering this? Oh, right. Because it doesn’t fit the ‘cops are evil’ narrative – so no one can know about it.
My officers were called out to an address after reports came in about a a suicidal man standing in the street armed with a knife.
The scene was surreal; an armed individual in broad daylight standing in the middle of the street screaming at responding officers.
“Kill me!” he yelled.
The first officer on the scene was veteran who had recently latterly transferred to our agency after 20 years of service at his prior department. The second officer on the scene was another lateral transfer with over 25-years of experience and a master less-lethal force instructor.
Officers attempted to de-escalate the situation verbally without success. The subject began advancing towards officers.
“Shoot me!” he continued to scream.
Less-lethal beanbags were deployed by officers from a neighboring agency, who had ironically been trained by one of my officers on the scene. The beanbag bursts were successful in taking the individual to the ground, but a taser also had to be deployed when he began to stand again, clutching the knife in his hand.
The 26-year-old was disarmed, taken into custody and transported to a local hospital.
This was a textbook example of dealing with a situation like this. The incident could have easily resulted in the use of deadly force. Training, equipment and veteran experience prevented a bad situation from turning into a tragic one.
Previous contacts with this individual revealed that he was under treatment for mental health issues. The individual had been hospitalized on several previous occasions, some of those contacts being aggressive encounters with police.
One of the officers involved in this incident and I were attending a training conference listening to a former Seal Team Six member who was talking about his struggles with his mental health after he had sustained a career-ending wound when an enemy combatant shot him in the leg, virtually destroying his femur.
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He spoke about his dive into a dark abyss, turning to alcohol and medications to numb the pain. He described the moment of agony driving him to put a gun to his head when his wife stopped him, contacted his former team members and eventually the local police department.
He talked about how professional the two officers who responded were. How they made eye contact with him, how they used de-escalation techniques. He praised them for saving his life.
As we sat listening to this hero’s journey, we received a text message from the other officer involved in our recent suicidal subject incident.
“I was just getting fuel when our suicidal from last week walked up to me and said, ‘thank you for not killing me,’” the message read.
Training, experience and life skills have saved countless lives. It’s unfortunate the public doesn’t hear about stories like this that happen everyday. The focus seems to be on the vilification of police.
I’m truly grateful that these veteran officers continued to serve and protect, when they could’ve easily walked out the door never looked back. Thank you for your leadership, your mentoring and your dedication to the next generation of law enforcement.
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