Serious Mental Health Issue Raises Questions for Police in Pasco
Pasco Police say they're hoping this case will continue to gather much needed attention on public mental health.
All too often attention is focused on weapons, the court system, laws--all while neglecting what's behind many a 911 call: mental health issues.
Pasco officers say they're very familiar with a male subject who lives near Road 32 and Sylvester; for some time he's made despondent threats against himself and even others. He's claimed to have dynamite and other weapons; he's been checked on literally dozens of times by Police and their MHP's (mental health professionals). He also violated a No Contact order against his ex (police didn't say if girlfriend or wife).
However, no weapons were ever found when officers responded to calls. The man did go to jail a few times for violating the contact order.
But finally on January 21st, the man allegedly made threats against a local pizza shop after a long and rambling conversation on the phone, he threatened to pick up his pizza and bring a shotgun to "take care of the problem." The worker heard noises in the backround that sounded like a weapon being loaded and cocked, so officers responded.
After a lengthy standoff at the man's home, involving flashbangs and other methods to flush him out, he was finally taken into custody. Despite numerous threats, again officers found no traces of weapons in the home. It appears he is finally getting some much needed mental health assistance for this very troubling situation.
Pasco Police ended the discussion with this paragraph, asking tough mental health questions:
"We are glad that this issue is getting more discussion. What do you do with someone who claims to have a weapon now, but didn’t have one last time? If police go, do they escalate a situation just by being there? If they don’t go, do they abandon the ex and the neighbors to whatever might happen? Do people with mental health issues escalate their behavior over time? Could he have armed himself since the last time? The answers are usually, “It depends,” or “Maybe.”