Letter: Unnecessary and downright stupid

Unnecessary and downright stupid

Editor of the Reformer:

Once again here in Vermont we have seen the slaying of a mentally ill man, likely paranoid and scared stiff, by a over reacting policeman.

Remember Woody Woodward? He sought refuge in a church in West Brattleboro, brandishing a small knife to keep people he feared away from him. The recent case north of here, the man was cowering in the shower with two knives and would not come out. How is it that our police force is not trained to deal with mentally ill people in crisis? NAMIVT (National Association on Mental Illness, Vermont Chapter) is a local entity that could so easily run workshops for police departments. They do free workshops all over the state all the time for mental health providers, families, nurses, social workers, etc. Why do the police not avail themselves of this resource? There should be a course as part of police training in their academy before young rookies are out in public and have to face these challenges.

I believe the recent shooter was only 23 years old. It is so unnecessary and downright stupid. Every police person should know the techniques for de-escalating a mental health crisis. Contact info@namivt.org or call 1-800-639-6480.

Claudette Hollenbeck, Wilmington, March 24


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