Artisan by Dan Joyce
There is a lot of talk online and elsewhere about the danger of bad cops killing innocent people. Many, like myself, are made to be afraid of the police department, especially those of us suffering mental illness. While it is true that a few of our police unfairly killed a schizophrenic man, this does in no way represent the attitude and policy of our local cops. Instead, throughout my history as a sufferer, they have been less threatening and more helpful.
Treating manic-depression can often be like dealing with diabetes. We have to maintain steady amounts of medications, not to many not too little. Caffeine, stress factors and social interaction with a positive support system also have to be watched closely. When, by chance, it is difficult to maintain proper treatments, episodes can occur and can be quite harmful to the health and even to the life of the individual.
Few people know this, but one practice that psychologists and law enforcement suggest, is that if the episode is that severe where it can be classified an emergency, we are instructed to call 911. While some police feel it is trivial to help the mentally ill, many of Fullerton’s police realize how difficult and serious a situation can be. Often, they have come to evaluate me, talk to me and do whatever they can to help. Many Fullerton policemen know me, not as a criminal, but as someone seeking help they have assisted in providing. If hospitalization is necessary, as so commonly it is when making such a call, Fullerton police put me in their squad cars and personally drive me to the facility when no one else will. They talk to me about my life and my problems, and wait until a doctor or nurse can assure them, and myself, that treatment will be provided. This is a far cry from the cops who killed Kelly Thomas. Instead, most of them have told me that they actually feel good about being of service to such citizens in our community. Maybe, such practice prevents a more dangerous call. Some of them see me around town, talk to me, ask me how I’m doing and congratulate me on successes in my personal recovery. It is hard to explain to the average population what a psychological crash can be like or what harm can be done from it, sometimes leading to suicide. But I really believe, that under such circumstances when our Fullerton police department shows up and helps me out, they may often be saving my life and helping me attain a better one.