I’ve talked a bit before about recognizing the emotionally disturbed person (EDP) and offered some tips on dealing with an EDP. If I haven’t stressed the importance of how dangerous an EDP can be, let me do so now.
EDPs by there very nature are unpredictable and unlikely to deal with you in a completely rational manner. As a result, a calm EDP can instantly become violent without any discernible trigger. So, do not be lulled into complacency when dealing with someone who may be disturbed.
EDPs frequently perceive reality differently, and understanding that may help explain their behaviors. For example, several years ago I dealt with a man who went off his meds and began thinking that the people he was seeing were aliens wearing “human suits.” And this was before Men in Black. So he went out in the neighborhood with his MAK-90 rifle with the intent on stopping the invasion. Fortunately, we found him before he caught any aliens and no one was shot that night.
The point, though, is to look at things through his perception of reality. This EDP felt completely justified in shooting some people because he thought he would be killing alien invaders. So, what if I came up on him and he thought I was a bug in an Edgar suit? Suddenly it is game on. But, I could be talking to him and everything seem ok, and then he suddenly realizes I am an alien. If I have relaxed, he may very easily get the drop on me.
A rookie on my shift tonight spots a guy walking down the road who is wearing only socks, shorts, and heart monitor leads. The rookie is smart enough to figure out that the guy may be an escapee from the psych ward of one of the nearby hospitals and gets out with the subject. His backup officer rolls up about two minutes later to find the rookie and EDP rolling on the ground and the EDP is trying to grab the officer’s gun. Fortunately, the rookie is in solid shape and the backup officer was able to provide a bit of overwhelming force to get the guy in custody. Just another example of how an encounter with an EDP went downhill fast.
About eight hours before I went on shift tonight, a deputy with another county here in Florida was shot and killed by an EDP. It seems this EDP was taken to a psych facility for a mental health evaluation (called a Baker Act here) the previous evening. At some point the EDP escapes and then is recaptured. Then the EDP escapes from this ‘secure’ facility again. When the deputies go to pick him back up, he is armed and barricaded inside a house. Eventually the decision is made to have the special response team make entry, and ultimately, a deputy and the subject were both shot and killed.
Through the years, I have had a variety of police training classes, and a bunch of first hand experience. Probably the best set of tips I’ve gotten came from the Street Survival officer safety seminar I took in 1998. I don’t know if Calibre Press is still teaching the same tips, but here they are.
- Never underestimate the intelligence of an EDP. Many of them are highly intelligent.
- Get back-up enroute ASAP. If things go bad, you may have a fight on your hands.
- Don’t rush. Wait for your back-up, and be prepared to talk for a while to establish rapport. As trainer and law enforcement veteran Bob Willis told us, if you don’t talk, you’ll have to fight.
- Use simple, straightforward language. Speak slowly. Use soft tones.
- Try to calm the EDP.
- Maintain your reactionary gap, and be willing to widen those gaps more than normal.
- Be ready to use force if it becomes necessary.
- Do not assume cooperation in previous encounters will mean cooperation in this or future incidents. Apparent cooperation doesn’t mean the danger has passed.
So, don’t get complacent. You never know when an EDP will decide its time to try and kill you.
Ummmm, I went on here to read more about how to deal with this disorder, not for you to talk down upon it. I’d like to disagree that ALL of us are violent… and maybe you could try to actually talk to the EDP, first. EVERYONE, wants someone to talk to. EVERYONE. Everyone needs help at some point or another. If you or other people could not be hostile and aggressive, and not react/enable the emotionally disturbed person, maybe they would feel less threatened in general. Also, not all of us are bad people, some have been emotionally abused by parents/parent, and think that the abuse is normal. Not only that, but if you’re adopted from another country where you can’t speak your new parents language, how are you to tell your other parent about the abuse. By the time the person is 18, the person will assimilate this into their lives and relationships all around. And advocating guns on this forum doesn’t help your story, at all. It’s like you’re encouraging us to buy your products or guns. Advocate love, support, or help. Even a random stranger can help a EDP. Its not that hard to show compassion honestly. Even though I really believe I’m emotionally disturbed, I still can be compassionate and do a random act of kindness. A mitzvah.
You’ve taken the article completely out of context to make your “points.”
No one has said that all EDPs are violent – you jumped to that conclusion based, I assume, on your biases about law enforcement. BlueSheepdog.com is not a “safe space,” and we discuss the harsh realities of violence, crime and the job of law enforcement. Based on your comments, I am fairly certain that you are not a law enforcement officer, meaning the reality of the job is just one of the things you do not understand.
An “EDP” is not a disorder as you suggest, nor does it describe a medical condition. Rather, it is a generic term that is used by first responders to help classify certain, potentially dangerous behaviors.
And, yes, BlueSheepdog.com as a entity and myself as a person, advocate for the personal ownership of firearms and other weapons by law abiding citizens. The right to self-defense is a fundamental right given to us by God and codified in the US Constitution.
Aaron E says
vplink I think you are looking for a medical or psychological website. BlueSheepdog.com is a law enforcement training, gear, and safety website, and as such our posts are tailored to active law enforcement officers.
One of the aspects of law enforcement is contacting and handling emotionally disturbed persons (EDP’s). The problem for law enforcement is it often impossible (outside of previous knowledge) to know if the person is just having a bad moment, or their behavior is a part of an on-going mental illness. Either way, however, the EDP can change behaviors and actions in a split second. Those changes can be seriously dangerous for officers, and this article is directed at officers (not EDP’s), to remind them not to get lulled into a false sense of security.
We absolutely advocate proper communication, and proper handling of EDP’s. This includes compassion and understanding – but also necessarily requires officers to remain vigilant in safety procedures. We have posted on the Memphis Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model for law enforcement, and advocate officers and agencies adopt this program or similar ones to train officers to deal with those suffering from short-term or long-term mental health issues better.
Your personal experience sounds devastating, and we hope you can find the professional help you desire to help you cope with your life’s experiences.