and, so that brought in a whole new perspective. I had never realized the degree to which they were afraid of us and often feel as though – now the situation becomes very life threatening for them. Because often they dont know how to follow the protocol, how to properly respond to police officers. and, so it just supercharges the whole event.”
The training] gave us an opportunity to ask questions and answers, but a lot of the questions and answers we were unable to ask before the training and that it was always: well, they do this or they do that and I know the community thinks well the officers do this and the officers do… so we had an opportunity to interact.” think its one of those things thats been welcomed. I hear nothing but positive things. Theres a few little thing, little glitches, in any kind of training, that people understand or people dont understand but they still feel that its important. In the beginning of the training, before we had this training, I would say that it was, you were dealt this card and this is how you dealt with mental illnesses.”
Field trips and dual diagnosis components were valuable.
Field trips were valuable: “I think my perception on mi was changed by actually going to places where they lived, the centers where they were being treated at. Because, usually, the ones we meet on the street are homeless. Theres other issues that are going on. But when you got to see them at the centers and where they lived, you could see that these were productive people and theyre like anybody else out there.”
But actually bringing clients into the system, and actually being able to sit there and have lunch with them, and actually ask them questions and stuff.
Its just not being thrown these bi-polars, and just these terms thrown at you. Youre actually seeing somebody and youre hearing their story. They are telling you: Oh, I tried to commit suicide so many times or I hear the voices and Im hearing voices now, but Im able to cop with it. And youre, youre kind of, its like youre, this is a real person – its not a term, its not a thing.” have been] a front line responder for many, many years, generally when I see people they are in a crisis situation. So that became my understanding of mental illness, crisis situations.”
All police officers are kind of like drivers. Everyone knows how to drive, a car. its the little things about different types of cars – say a motorcycle to a truck, you have to handle them, drive them a different way. I think as police officers, being the professionals that we are, we all know how to quote/unquote handle or deal with the mi. I just think this class kind of clarified or tell us a little bit more about the vehicles – a little bit more about the persons, the diseases, the illnesses out there.”
Scarcity of resources: “The best thing I got out of it was different resources. But again (uncomfortable chuckle) the rain on the parade is, resources are good but theyre not there. Theyre not there for the officers. Even like when I called today and told you about just the problem that I had. Like – and Im not saying somebody should jump when somebody says Im a police officer – or this or that.
But Im putting that out there to show you that some sort of legitimacy behind my call. And if, we should all be here to help each other out, rather than give each other the attitude.
And I know the attitude is needed, the thick skin is needed because of who we deal with. But its true.
Its who we deal with. We need to have thick skin. We need to have a certain amount of… So, Im not… Ive been frustrated when Ive tried to call people.
Weve, me and my partner I think are real good. He loved this class. He got a lot out of it. I did too.”
Police as drivers metaphor.
It showed that there was a greater range of services out there. and, its not so black and white. They can either address the situation or walk away from them. That, if theyre willing to cooperate, that theres other things that we can do. We can try and plug them into different services.
And if its, lets say, a family thing or a neighborhood thing, we could always make a phone call to, like, MC. And maybe they could come out and maybe not do a 5150, but talk to them and maybe get them some help so the problem is resolved or we dont have to go back there.
Field trips valuable: on one of our field visits we went to a, like a transitional housing. Which I didnt even know was in our district. Which is kind of a good thing. In that if they can kind of take care of business and dont have to call the police that shows that theyre running a good operation.
And it shows that, kind of showed me that these were people who had been 5150ed and instead of just kicking them out, theyre given a little more supervision, a place to stay, maybe a little counseling, a little guidance. So maybe they can successfully get on with their lives.”
Training was timely esp. re: suicide: “I was particularly please with the training, that was with Blue Suicide. I thought that it was very timely, because I think that in the field we see more and more examples of people putting police officers in situations theyre confronted with an individual who has a preconceived notion, an idea, of what hes – the end of his actions are.” think one of the nicer things was that we were able to get to know some of the instructors a little bit more and some of the role players. And I also thought that it was very, very conducive to have people that had mental health issues in the past speak to us.”
Suicide by cop – that one was helpful because you kind of know which people are going to want to do that. Sometimes you kinda dont. but, its always good to get information on that and stay up-to-date on all that.”
And the elderly, cause I like old people. I really do, and I feel…”Adults, I dont know, sometimes its easy for me to get frustrated with them. I seem to have more patience with old folks. I dont know. I like old people. I tend to go that extra mile for old folks.”
And the illness in cultures, I learned about that when I was working at the TerraBelle. Cause there was all kinds of different cultures out there. There was: Chinese, Russian, you name it – its out in the TerraBelle. And its kind of interesting to see how different cultures handle their mi. I mean, Ive found them locked in closets. Chained in the garage and s***. And I was like: What are you doing? You cant do that. You cant chain the guy in the garage cause hes got a mi.” think everything was helpful. It helpful and it was all interesting. And I was surprised by the level of enthusiasm the instructors all had – to be honest. I didnt know what to make of it. You know, most of these classes we go to, we just kind of show up and yk, people do their thing. but, at this one, it was so different.”
Good food: “First of all – food was great. It was incredible!
Staff credentials: But, just the people that were there giving this training, I mean, these were, some of the people that were there were actually pretty high up in the…[respected in the field].
Length of training: “And it surprised me that the City wanted to actually invest this sort of time and – a week.”
Liked other field trips: “What I did like was the visit to SFGen, that psych ward, that was, out of all the visits, that was the one that I thought was the most interesting. Cause once we 5150 somebody, we dont know where they go. So, it was interesting to see where they could go.”
Attended pilot training course in May 2001:
thought it was something that every officer, in any department should have. That kind of training is invaluable, especially if you work in the street, which most officers do, and you are dealing with the mentally ill and you may not even know it. And its great to help identify those who suffer certain conditions, in identifying them and how to talk.