Most families don’t want the police to intervene with their mentally ill relative, fearing it will “only make things worse.”

Most people don’t want the police entering a private home without a warrant, especially to conduct a wellness check. The police can’t get a warrant for non-criminal speech.

In hundreds of cases, over my 45 years of bringing people with mental illness to the ER for an evaluation, they were released and declared no longer “a danger to themselves or others” after multiple warning signs. I’ve revoked gun licenses and confiscated firearms only to have mentally ill people, and others intent on causing harm, steal guns and kill or injure other people.

Critics of the police can’t have it both ways, saying that mentally ill people pose no danger and demanding that we don’t stigmatize or criminalize those with mental illness, and then demand to know why the police didn’t find a person like the Lewiston shooter and lock him up.

My hope is that hostile and uninformed critics of the police will educate themselves and see that Lewiston and other mass shootings are not the result of “objective failures” by the police.

We need to raise boys that don’t become dominant, dangerous narcissists who lack empathy. We need to rewrite laws on involuntary commitment and make them useful. We need inpatient resources to treat people who pose a danger to themselves or others. We need to support the police and the medical community in making those determinations. We need to stop blaming the police.

William Baker

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