Ruth, you’re making us mental

A neighbor named Ruth reports on social media:

Car with flashing yellow lights. Just saw a car that looked just like a police car in the dark but the bar of lights on top were flashing yellow unlike the usual red and blue. Could this be the new mental health unit?  If I were out at night and this car were behind me, I would be afraid to stop.

Another neighbor responds, “Ruth, there is no [separate] mental health unit.”

Ruth is not the only one driven bonkers by the Defund the Police crowd. After all, Madison had enough crazy to elect a guy known as “Mad Max” as alder. Still, Blaska cannot let an opportunity pass without doing his own old-prospector jig out of Treasure of Sierra Madre.

Nurse Ratched and Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Being Madison, Ruth is entitled to live in her own fantasy world. (AKA “progressivism.”) Instead of the big bad PO-lice, call the new mental health unit. “Hello, mental health unit? A gang is going crazy with their shooting.”

If the reader will pardon a brief interlude of sanity, how does the average citizen know — when summoning assistance (95% of all police interactions are summoned) — whether mental illness is involved? Or substance abuse, for that matter. Unless they are familiar with the individual. In any case, some (certainly not all) mentally ill (and substance abusers) can become violent — a risk to the public, the responding officer, and themselves. Madison police are very adept at sorting out situations that confront them. Read Police Chief Shon Barnes’ daily blotter. They’re always plugging people into the mental health / social services systems.

This misperception may have been fueled by the Defund the Police crowd, who have done a disservice to public safety AND the mentally ill.

Madison police already do mental health

Truth is, for a couple of decades already, Madison police have been ahead of the curve in training its officers on how to respond to mental health crises. MPD is one of only ten Law Enforcement-Mental Health learning sites recognized by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The mission of the Madison Police Department Mental Health Unit is to provide a coordinated, professional and compassionate police response to individuals affected by mental illness and their families. The Mental Health Unit will work collaboratively with partner agencies to achieve improved outcomes for individuals affected by mental illnesses or suffering a crisis by connecting them to needed services and diverting them away from the criminal justice system whenever possible.

But it remains a police response given that, in many cases, the call for response has no idea if it is a mental health issue or not and that, in any case, that crisis could endanger the community as well as the individual. (Which is why outside help is being sought in the first place.)

⇒ MPD responded to at least 9 mental health emergencies over weekend.

Indeed, as the MDP site explains: “Our patrol officers offer the first and most essential layer of service, all of whom receive comprehensive mental health/crisis intervention training through our pre-service academies and departmental in-services.” (The full story.)

Blaska’s Bottom Line: The Defund the Police people need our help.

What drives YOU crazy?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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5 Responses to Ruth, you’re making us mental

  1. Leo says:

    madison needs mental helth unit. . . .with flashing lights of ANY color.


  2. Normwegian says:

    You mangy mutt And they’re coming to take me away ha-haaa They’re coming to take me away ha-haaa ho-ho hee-hee To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men In their clean white coats And they’re coming to take me away To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes And they’re coming to take me away ha-haaa!


  3. georgessson says:

    I HAVE noticed quite a distinction: Koval vs. Barnes “blog”. Not only the absence of race and ages of subject and victims, there’s a preponderance of “Pats onna Back” like, “An ATL was aired and the vehicle was entered as stolen.” X 5-6/day, plus, “Journey Mental Health consulted.” X 3-4/day and “The suspect was revived with Naloxone & was cited for possession of heroin and provided references for treatment.” Never mind the 3 AM police pursuits (likely of repetitive juvvies) called off prematurely, after all gasoline IS going up… The Chief knows well the audience to which he is playin’….


    • David Blaska says:

      Interim chief Vic Wahl also abandoned the racial designation. It WAS useful to disabuse the Defund the Police squad that the big bad PO-lice were arresting black people for spitting on the sidewalk.


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