Arkansas police officers hear ways to assist mentally ill

Weeklong course in Jonesboro part of state’s ‘crisis intervention training.

By Emma Pettit
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Late one night in Pulaski County, a man with a history of resisting arrest was about to go to blows with Lt. Ted Haase's deputies.

The man was upset, Haase learned, because he wanted to sit at his father's gravestone until the sun rose. The man's family had called him "crazy" and phoned police, Haase said.

The lieutenant spoke with the man for 45 minutes, using body language and manners of speech he'd learned in behavioral health training courses.

"He went from, 'I hate the police; I want to kill you all,' to, 'Man, I'm sorry I acted like that. I'm having a really bad night," Haase said.

He told the story to a room of about 30 law enforcement officers, and a few mental health specialists, in Jonesboro on Thursday.

In a conference room at Mid-South Health Systems, attendees of a weeklong course learned how to interact with people in the throes of a mental health crisis. Read more.

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