Celebrating the good you don’t know about our police officers
Need a social worker? Police are on the front lines for people with serious mental health issues. A large part of policing means responding to people with terrible mental health issues in crisis. Our own county agency sent police several times each day to check on people and that doesn’t include the calls to 911.
Your friendly writer worked with a county mental health agency in the 24 hour crisis intervention center taking calls from people, and those who loved them, hurting or in some form of crisis. Often the caller needed more than a conversation or promise of a visit with a therapist in a few days.
In those cases we called on our best social workers; our local police officers.
Often we made the decision to send police not sharing it with the caller given the perceived risks. We needed someone face to face with the person and didn’t want to chance they’d take off.
Staying on the phone with the person, usually in minutes, I’d hear the knock on the door knowing police arrived taking the caller by surprise. They’d open the door and I’d hear the officer say something like, “Hey, Mike I’m officer Jones and I heard you’re having a tough day. How about we talk about it?”
Never once did any officer fail to impress me as I let the person know they were in good hands and I’d be ending the call.
I’d often audibly hear the person sigh in relief. People in crisis know they are in trouble, they often don’t know what to do and don’t appreciate just how bad it’s gotten.
No longer alone. Help arrived. Safety and security restored. The worst demons cease to rule the moment.
We often said we knew we saved lives, and the first call certainly often comes to Crisis Intervention centers in counties all across America everyday all day. Truth is, though, today in America untold hundreds of people’s lives will be saved and changed for the better by amazing professional police officers who respond when someone needs help.
It’s a story we rarely hear. It’s too bad, too.