Many cops in California are not completing a state-certified program that focuses on the training in dealing with mental illness, suicide behavior, and drug use.
San Jose Mercury News released a report that shows fewer are completing an additional 40 hours of the Crisis Intervention Training courses.
Perhaps this could explain the rash of headlines we read about involving police officers and the mentally ill either being wrongfully treated or beaten. However, with the training or not, it can't begin to excuse or even justify violent and excessive behavior by those sworn to uphold the law and not abuse it.
California Healthline outlines the following:
12% of police officers in Oakland are CIT-certified;
15% of officers in San Francisco are CIT-certified;
24% of officers in Santa Clara are CIT-certified; and
37% of officers in San Jose are CIT-certified.
For instance, a man suffering from Down-syndrome, was beaten by the San Diego Sheriffs Department, after, Antonio Martinez, did not stop for the deputy and subsequently pepper spraying, and slamming his face into the pavement. Lawsuit. Again, explains but doesn't excuse.
Most of us are familiar with the high profiled Kelly Thomas case. A mentally-ill homeless man, that was beaten to his death by Fullerton police officers. In the Thomas case, few can argue that CIT would help, as he was clearly provoked by officers, who should be undergoing some form of mental counseling themselves.
Whatever the problem is in California and its cops, it needs to be fixed. Perhaps we are living in such a police state that the demand for quantity is greater than quality. Perhaps, California needs a better mental screening of current and future police officers. Regardless, police officers are in the purview of cell phone cameras, and the internet, that can quickly expose police misconduct with a few clicks.
Derek Wood at 9:43 AM