The following was taken from a Facebook Live video from March 22, as spoken by Brian Dunn.
What can I do if you want the police to help and you don’t want the person to be hurt? Well, the first thing you can do is if you’re in a major city, ask if they have a psychological response team. Every major city has one. They don’t bring guns. They don’t bring weapons. They come and they talk. There’s a specialized unit that does this. In San Diego they’re called the PERT team. In L.A. they’re called the PET team. There’s always the “P” at the beginning, which is for psychological. Essentially, what these individuals have learned is that in terms of years, and years, and years of dealing with this type of situation, there are ways to talk to people who are having a rough day. There are ways to talk to people who are off their meds. There are ways to handle the situation. That’s the first thing. If you’re calling 9-1-1, that’s the first thing.
If the person that you’re dealing with has a history, you might want to consider calling a hospital first, instead of calling law enforcement. If you call the local metropolitan hospital, and that person has been there before, they might have a situation that is unique and they can actually send somebody. The other thing is, when the police come, I believe that it’s incumbent upon family members to understand that they’re really not trained to help. They’re not trained for that. They’re trained to have a very patterned response to any situation. If you don’t do what they tell you to do, most law enforcement officers are going to want to hurt you with something, or shoot you with something, or spray you with something, or hit you with something.
As family members, when the police get there you can say, “Look, our brother, David, is in the room. Maybe we can talk to him. I don’t think you need to approach him in a manner. We want to get him possibly sedated, but I just want to let you know that he hasn’t committed a crime. We just want help.” Perhaps just that attitude alone can de-escalate law enforcement’s response to achieve a safe end.