Why is it so hard for city officials to accept the fact that they need to bolster their budget for police officers in an effort to fight crime? They always seem to come up with these secondary solutions to solve the problem, when, in fact, they could actually make things worse.
I’m talking about Seattle officials recently deciding to stop police and fire departments from answering mental crisis calls, instead letting unarmed “crisis responders” handle the matter.
City officials note how this system has been in the works for the past three years, following what occurred with “defund the police.” Democrat councilwoman Lisa Hebold tried to explain her actions in a statement to City Inside/Out: Council Edition.
“Well, you know, usually I’m complaining about how delayed we are and how frustrated I am that we’re not meeting our benchmarks for developing this program,” she said about the program. “But today I’m really, really happy to report that the city is hiring for the six positions for its first pilot alternate response team. It’s going to be a way for 911 operators to dispatch calls to somebody other than police, somebody other than fire, a crisis responder who is unarmed.”
I don’t think Hebold understands what she’s doing.
Police and fire departments are trained to deal with all sorts of mental crisis issues. These “crisis responders” that she’s hired are not. They may be able to deal with someone in terms of potential mental turns. But…what happens if they turn violent?
Chaos, that’s what. And now, because of that, these innocent, unarmed civilians that are called upon to deal with these “mental crisis” patients run the risk of being assaulted – or worse yet – murdered. We’ve seen it in the past, when someone loses their grasp of reality and, as a result, snaps. And if you don’t believe me, take a look at the rise of “active shooter” events over the past couple of years.
And yet Hebold thinks this is a “good idea,” instead of simply giving the police more money to deal with the increasing crime rate in her city. That’s like putting a Band-Aid on a heavily bleeding wound, insisting that will solve the problem. It won’t.
The real question here should be who will be legally responsible for the lawsuits arising from social workers that are unarmed being murdered, to mental patients injuring/killing individuals because they were not restrained, to all kinds of wrongful deaths. Because a program like this opens that door.
Hebold is simply handing situations that would be better left in the hands of law enforcement to those that think talking is going to resolve everything. In my 30 years of experience in law enforcement, I can tell you – it won’t. There are some people out there that aren’t looking for talk to resolve their problems.
It’s just stubborn Democratic thinking. “Oh, the ‘defund the police’ people are right, we can’t possibly give them the money they need to bring crime down. I know, let’s bring in six civilians.” Does that sound like it makes sense to you?
And we’ve seen this kind of resolve before. Last year, a small town in California did away with its police force, instead calling on unarmed “enforcers” to patrol the streets to keep crime down. To no one’s surprise, it didn’t. In fact, it got worse, to the point that the city had to relent and attempt to hire police officers instead.
The moral of the story here is that Seattle needs police. Period. Not “crisis specialists” or “crisis responders” or therapists that are armed with nothing more than a pad and paper. They. Need. Police. I could practically write explanation after explanation to Hebold to get this point across; but knowing her, she would simply throw them away, insisting she’s right.
You have to wonder if she’ll keep that opinion going after so many of these “crisis specialists” end up injured or dead. Perhaps she should consider her own level of therapy before putting her endangered city into further peril.
Michael Letts is the Founder, President, and CEO of InVest USA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. He also has over 30 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, hence his pro-police stance for his brothers and sisters in blue.