It’s Time to Better Train Police How to Handle Those with Mental Illnesses

Jordan Shorter, Staff Writer

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Incidents of individuals with mental illness or disability being mistreated for their actions is a problem that U.S. police forces must address.

When a person who is mentally disabled interacts with police, the results can sometimes be very dangerous.

It should be mandatory for all police forces in the United States to have a similar amount of comprehensive training on how to handle individuals with mental illness or disability. Additionally, police forces should all learn how to look for signs that show that an individual may have a mental illness or disability. If a person isn’t responding right away and is having trouble communicating, police who aren’t trained well may not take mental illness into consideration and may harm them due to that person’s seemingly uncooperative or unstable behavior.

Academies have trained police officers to investigate and question suspects, but they should be better trained on how to investigate cases that involve individuals with special needs, mental disorders, and disabilities.

Along with the base-level requirements that law enforcement agencies necessitate such as having a driver’s license, having a high school diploma or college degree, and training about the law and self-defense, the important training of learning how to handle people with mental disabilities should be just as much a requirement. Police are on guard so much these days that, in many reported cases, they don’t take the time to stop and pay attention to possible signs of mental illness or disability. Instead, they treat all incidents the same and are too quick to act and, in far too many cases, these actions result in injury and even death.

Stronger training and awareness for police should be mandatory nationwide so that people don’t get hurt by any misunderstandings.

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