Nine years after Otto Zehm’s death, we’re seeing the benefits of critical incident training for law enforcement, along with collaborative efforts with local mental health agencies, first responders and others.
On April 18, bystanders in the West Central Neighborhood captured cellphone images of Spokane police officers responding to reports of a naked man screaming and rolling in the street. Officers reportedly determined the man was experiencing a medical condition known popularly as “excited delirium,” and was posing no immediate threat to anyone except himself.
They had paramedics stand by, approached the scene with sirens and squad car lights turned off, kept their weapons holstered, avoided rushing toward the man, and talked to him calmly to let him know they were there to keep him safe. Onlookers applauded as the ambulance took the man away to the hospital.
While there’s been plenty of news about police using excessive force, it’s important to celebrate when they get it right.