March 8, 2022

IMPD employs effective de-escalation plan for the mentally ill

FILE:Doug Jaggers/WFYI

FILE:Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Law enforcement and emergency personnel are trained to peacefully resolve hostage or suicide situations for everyone involved. Officers face additional challenges if the perpetrator shows signs of mental illness.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Shane Foley said it’s helpful to have personnel with knowledge in human interaction within a tense environment.

“Sociology, psychology, social working; we have a number of people who come from different areas; other agencies of social work, who, a lot of what they do is interacting; dealing with people trying to keep them calm,” Foley said.

Family members of suicide or hostage initiators may want copies of footage from an IMPD-worn body camera taken at the scene. Interested parties can view the video, but there is a condition that must be met before the footage can be released.

“Typically, with a suicidal-type person, there's not an active investigation taking place,” Foley said. “So those are most likely to be releasable sooner than later.”

Foley said body cameras are a necessary tool for transparency between police and the community. The department recently posted a “Sworn to Serve” video on their social media channels showing officers engaging with a suicidal man on a local interstate.

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