American cops could learn a thing or two from Canadian cops.
Canadian police were met with a dangerous situation that most American officers would have met with extreme violence and perhaps even death.
A mentally ill man was swinging a knife around while on a bus, and police responded immediately to de-escalate the situation.
Local police and the department referred to the man as a “man in crisis” on Twitter, whereas in America he would have been referred to as “armed and dangerous.”
UPDATE – PERSON IN CRISIS
Steeles & Tangreen, one person has been safely apprehended, will be transported to hospital by ambulance. ^cb
— Toronto Police OPS (@TPSOperations) July 30, 2016
A police negotiating team and a mental health specialist accompanied the officers in Ontario, Canada in their endeavor to calm the man down and safely detain him. The negotiations lasted several hours before the man was apprehended, without harm to either him or the officers.
Instead of taking him to jail to book and charge him, he was taken to the hospital and given the proper treatment for his ailment. The police jointly decided to not press charges against him, which is a great follow-up step if this man is going to have any chance of rebalancing his health.
Comparing this incident to how things might have gone down in America may seem unfair, but when looking at a real-life occurrence, it’s easy to see that America’s policing system is seriously skewed. In a similar situation in Oklahoma City, police shot and killed a man on a city bus who likely had a mental condition as well.
According to the New York Daily News, the man in Oklahoma City had been treated earlier that same day for a head injury and was distressed over a possible divorce. Before being killed, he had commandeered a car by forcing women to drive him to the nearest bus stop one mile away.
USA Today reported that mentally disabled people are 16 times more likely to be killed by police than those not afflicted with a mental disorder.
Obviously, these tragic incidents don’t occur every time police respond to similar calls, but the frequency with which it does occur is cause for alarm and needs to be addressed. De-escalation is something that needs to be discussed and taught so that mentally disabled people, among others that are often misunderstood, can feel safe enough to calm down.
American police have a lot to learn, but with the right training, they could have less unnecessary deaths on their hands.
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