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NCJ Number: 171258 Find in a Library
Title: Police Tactics in Incidents With Mentally Disturbed Persons
Journal: Policing  Volume:20  Issue:2  Dated:(1997)  Pages:326-338
Author(s): R Panzarella; J O Alicea
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 13
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Following preliminary studies and considerable discussion with police officers, a detailed survey instrument was developed to evaluate police tactics in incidents involving mentally disturbed persons.
Abstract: The survey focused on 10 specific situations: involuntary commitment from a residence, nonviolent person in confusion or shock, person in a state of extreme emotion due to a stressful situation, violent mentally disturbed person, emotional hostage taker, nonviolent person exhibiting bizarre behavior in a public place, mentally disturbed homeless person, suicide attempt threatened or in progress, paranoid person, and person intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. The survey asked how often police officer respondents had personally been present at each of these situations during the past year and asked them to provide details about particular incidents. Of 365 members of a special unit in a large metropolitan police department, 90 police officers completed questionnaires. Results showed the average police officer was present at a total of about 21 incidents. Mentally disturbed and violent persons constituted the smallest category of incidents, while nonviolent disturbed persons constituted the largest category of incidents. The most common way police officers got involved in incidents was in response to a call from a family member. About one-third of incidents occurred between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and another one-third took place between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Days of the week with the highest number of incidents were Sunday, Thursday, and Friday, in rank order. In 60 incidents in which subject age was reported, 30 was the most common age. About 58 percent of persons were still agitated when the special unit arrived, and 47 percent wanted police officers to leave. The most frequently mentioned effective police tactics were to maintain communication and to use proper equipment. Implications of the analysis of police tactics in situations involving mentally disturbed persons for police administration and training are considered. 14 references and 3 tables
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Drug offenders; Homeless offenders; Homeless persons; Mental disorders; Mentally ill offenders; Police statistics; Suicide; Violent offenders
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