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Police Get Help With Confronting Veterans

Kevin Johnson

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Jan. 28, 2012

Good that this is happening now, but the article completely ommitted the reality that this kind of education comes far too late for some of our mentally ill Vets who have wound up dead at the hands of law enforcement.
A suspect was shot and killed by one of my officers,” Gillespie said. “Any time we have a fatal use of law enforcement, it’s a sad day.” identified the man as Stanley Gibson, whose wife, Rondha, said he was battling post-traumatic stress disorder and brain cancer from serving in the Gulf War. "He would go into paranoid delusions, thinking people were after him," she said. "He would get scared. He would get severe anxiety."
But I have to ask why so many of our Vets from campaigns like those in Afghanistan wind up, when discharged, with a huge array of mental illnesses.
And the only possible conclusion I can come to is that, perhaps, when they were in country for a while, they recognized that the United States was not on the right side of history in these military misadventures. What the police call "mental illness" may be moral outrage.
To be forced to fight and kill on command, when you are, at heart, a moral or even spiritual individual, after having come to that awareness, cannot help but create moral and emotional damage.
What was "won" in the war against Iraq?!? Exxon-Mobil got their oil development deals, period, end of discussion.
Iraq, the country which formerly enjoyed the highest standard of living in the Muslim Middle East, has been utterly destroyed by the US invasion and occupation, and is on the brink of sectarian civil war.
And who is "winning" the 10 year and counting in the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan?
The drug lords (and the banks which launder their money) and the defense contractors, that's who.
Understanding that what we have had in these wars is publicly funded war, ultimately for private profit, would be enough to make sensible people at least very angry and upset. Add to that the pressures of combat, and you have all the elements necessary for a perfect storm of mental illness for our returning Veterans. ~Mike Rivero
By Kevin Johnson



Jan 28th 2012


The Justice Department is funding an unusual national training program to help police deal with an increasing number of volatile confrontations involving highly trained and often heavily armed combat veterans.

Developers of the pilot program, to be launched at 15 U.S. sites this year, said there is an "urgent need" to de-escalate crises in which even SWAT teams may be facing tactical disadvantages against mentally ill suspects who also happen to be trained in modern warfare.
"We just can't use the blazing-guns approach anymore when dealing with disturbed individuals who are highly trained in all kinds of tactical operations, including guerrilla warfare," said Dennis Cusick, executive director of the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute. "That goes beyond the experience of SWAT teams."
Cusick, who is developing the program along with institute training director William Micklus, said local authorities have a better chance of defusing violent confrontations by immediately engaging suspects in discussions about their military experience -- not with force.
The aim, Micklus said, is to try to reconnect them with "a sense of integrity" lost in the fog of emotional distress.
"You can't win by trying to out-combat them,'' Cusick said. "You emphasize what it means to be a Marine, a soldier to people who now feel out of control."
There is no data that specifically tracks police confrontations with suspects currently or formerly associated with the military. But an Army report issued this year found that violent felonies in the service were up 1% while non-violent felonies increased 11% between 2010 and 2011.
During that time, however, crime in much of the nation declined.
"What we're seeing is that the volume (of violent incidents involving military personnel off base) has ratcheted up to a level we have never seen before," Cusick said.
Much of the anecdotal evidence reads like the report of the Jan. 13 standoff between Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Eisenhauer, 30, a veteran of multiple combat tours, and Fayetteville, N.C., police and firefighters.
A 911 call from an apartment complex manager revealed that Eisenhauer was allegedly barricaded inside one of the apartments exchanging gunfire with police.
Although the suspect was not specifically identified as a soldier, the apartment manager told a police dispatcher that the suspect was "under psychiatric care," according to the 911 call.
According to Fort Bragg records, Eisenhauer had been assigned to the post's Warrior Transition Battalion, a unit for soldiers who have been wounded or suffered other illnesses as a result of their deployment, Womack Army Medical Center spokeswoman Shannon Lynch said.
Eisenhauer, who was wounded in the standoff along with two police officers, is charged with 30 criminal counts, including 15 counts of attempted murder.
Darrel Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities (Police) Chiefs Association, said the type of training proposed by the Justice Department represents "one piece of the challenge'' in dealing with an increasing number of mentally ill suspects.
"This has been a challenge for a number of years in our communities," Stephens said