March 20, 2017

SCPD Officer Uses Talk To Mitigate A Mental Health Crisis

Thanks to the great work of SCPD Officers, we were able to bring a risky situation to a successful conclusion without any injuries.

On Sunday, 03/19/17, around 6:26 pm, Santa Cruz Police responded to the 100 block of Acadia Avenue regarding a subject with mental illness that was being violent. Family members described the man as having manic episodes and being physically aggressive.

Around the same time, a neighbor called the police to report that they heard a “loud bang” as if something hit his house. The neighbor, who has a restraining order against the subject, saw the subject running toward his house.

The distressed man’s family claimed he was increasingly aggressive due to his coming off his psychiatric medication. He made repeated statements of wanting to harm other people and had a recent history of physical assault.

SCPD officers first contacted the troubled man outside the home and calmed him down. At one point during the conversation, the subject jumped up, ran into the house and locked the door. Ultimately, SCPD Officers convinced him to come out of the home. SCPD transported him to Telecare Psychiatric Health Facility for further care.

In this incident, an SCPD Officer was able to connect with the person in mental crisis through conversation. Our officer was able to convince him to cooperate.

SCPD officers regularly participate in crisis intervention and de-escalation training. Crisis intervention training teaches ways to minimize the use of force with subjects who are mentally ill.

"Crisis intervention training is only one part of the solution. The overarching goal should be to get a person with mental illness out of the criminal justice system and into a system of care that adequately treats the core issues”, said Deputy Chief Rick Martinez.

SCPD is on the forefront of collaboration with behavioral health providers and advocates to improve the way our community responds to a mental health crisis.