"A Trained Bigot with a Badge
Medical-legal literature cataloged by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, i.e.,
has shown that people with mental illnesses are victims of crime and violence more than 11 times those in the general population.
So I went looking to see what I could find out about how Officers in the Tulsa Police Department are trained to deal with people who have mental illnesses. While the content of their training programs is not publicly transparent, one can learn things about their approach. Despite the excessive vulnerability of those with psychiatric disabilities, in Oklahoma and many other places, if a person in a dispute or complaint appears to a police officer, or states, that he or she has a mental illness, the only question is how to get this person confined and medicated without incurring a lawsuit for excessive force.
Law enforcement agencies from the Federal level
to the State-Federal level,
to the State-Local level,
all treat people with mental illnesses as the perpetrators of crime, violence and disturbance, never the victim.
In fact, if you enter such terms as “mentally ill victim” into their search engines, you will get either “0 results”, or documents regarding victims of people with mental illness. A search on the Oklahoma Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services web site also depicts people with mental illnesses as perpetrators, with only one exception, “alleged victims” among the “consumers” already committed to its institutions. The only other possible victims it acknowledges are vulnerable adults being abused by their caregivers.
So, despite sound research to the contrary, as far as the law enforcement and mental health community in Oklahoma and elsewhere are concerned, a person with a mental illness can never have a valid complaint against any other person who does not appear or admit to being mentally ill. This short-circuits any investigation into the testimony of anyone with a mental illness in its tracks. Providing normal investigative services, such as merely interviewing neighbors, can and will be dispensed on account of a psychiatric disability. Due diligence is not officially required. If there’s a problem and one of the disputants has a mental illness, just round em up and head em out.
We’ve see this before – in the enforcement of Jim Crow by Sheriffs in the Old South. Dragging people with mental illness off to the local loony bin isn’t that far removed in moral and legal philosophy from returning runaway slaves to the plantation, for involuntary “treatment”. I’ve met good people from the Tulsa Police Department. But for every one of those, TPD has a cynical slacker who practices jeering at any complaint a civilian might bring. As it now stands, you can put any of them through the existing mandatory 4 to 4.5 hours of academy training and 2 whole hours per year in continuing education in dealing with mental health issues, and it looks like all you’ll get is a trained bigot with a badge. "