Midland Police train for encounters with mentally challenged individuals

by Jacqueline Sit
NewsWest 9

"Put the weapon down," says Sgt. Alfredo Grimaldo with the Midland Police Department.

We're doing some scenario work dealing with some mentally ill subject, suicidal people or otherwise armed people that we don't want to use deadly force on.

Using less lethal weapons like pepper balls or beanbags.

These officers take on a situation that's both tense and touchy; dealing with the mentally challenged is something Midland Police face at least once a day.

"Any officer can deal with them on a shift two or three times a night," says Grimaldo.

It requires special negotiations because in some cases the situation can escalate in a matter of seconds.

"Some of these people are very hard to come by or hard to get along with because the reason is they're not using all their senses and a lot of them are heavily medicated and a lot of them are hard to talk to.  They don't understand as easily as normal people do and a lot of them are under the influence of drugs and tend to act irrationally," says Grimaldo.

This is the dummy the police are training with today, you can see three colors here, the green and yellow are the main targets, to either stop or slow down a suspect.  The red area is the target they want to avoid at all cause, because it could mean deadly force.

"With the people we encounter, it's very hard for us. It's a disease they have that they don't want to live with a lot of times, we try to get them the best help that we can and we try to do it best way possible with everybody involved," says Grimaldo.

Midland Police train for this exercise every quarter.