What's really insane
We got another e-mail alert yesterday in which the Portland police department detailed for us once again how much mental illness its officers are dealing with on a daily basis on the streets of our city. This is the third of these we've received over the last month or so, and it is pretty disturbing. The whole thing is set out at the end of this post.
We've been thinking about the matter some, and it seems to us that there's an irony here. Mental health services in Portland are the responsibility of the county. And over the years, the county's share of our property tax dollar has been shrinking -- this year it's at a seven-year low percentage. Meanwhile, the amount of taxes going to pay police and firefighters pensions keeps growing like topsy -- the dollar amount went up 8.74% this year compared to last.
We don't think that the police should be the area's mental health professionals, but there are reasons why that has become the reality. And the cops' pensions are one factor contributing to the problem. Maybe the bureau should "cc" the police and fire unions on these heartbreaking e-mail messages.
Anyway, here's the latest litany of lunacy from the police bureau. We're not sure how many more of these we'll reprint in full. The message is clear enough:
On Tuesday October 9, 2012, at 9:45 a.m., Portland Police officers assigned to North Precinct responded to the Interstate Bridge on the report of a possible jumper. Officers arrived and spotted the 38-year-old man in the Columbia River and kept an eye on him as the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office River Patrol was enroute, as well as officers from the Vancouver (WA) Police Department.
The man reached the north shore of the Columbia River and was transported to a Southwest Washington hospital for a mental health evaluation.
At approximately 12:00 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to an address in Southwest Portland's Hillsdale neighborhood on the report of a man hanging outside a 4th story window with a noose around his neck. Officers contacted the man and began talking with him. After a short time, the man agreed to come back inside the window and was taken into protective custody. Officers transported the man to a Portland hospital.
Just before 5:00 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the Hawthorne Bridge on the report of a man who jumped into the Willamette River. Officers arrived along with a Portland Fire & Rescue boat. Firefighters were able to locate the man but were not able to resuscitate him.
At just after 10:00 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to Southwest 16th Avenue and Taylor Street after a young woman called the crisis line reporting that she wanted to commit suicide.
Officers located the woman and took her voluntarily to a local hospital for treatment.
On Thursday October 11, 2012, just before 5:00 p.m., officers from North Precinct responded to the foot of the St. John's Bridge off of US 30 on the report of a deceased male on the river bank. Based on the investigation, it is believed the man jumped from the St. John's Bridge and landed on the river bank.
On Friday October 12, at just after 4:00 p.m., a detective went to a residence in Southeast Portland's Richmond neighborhood to contact a 17-year-old male as part of an ongoing investigation. The 17-year-old fought with the detective and additional arriving officers before being taken into custody.
Investigators learned that the 17-year-old had been on psychological holds numerous times in the past few months. The 17-year-old was booked into the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home on charges related to the investigation as well as Assaulting a Public Safety Officer.
On Sunday October 14, at approximately 10:15 a.m., officers assigned to East Precinct responded to a home in Southeast Portland's Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on the report of a suicidal 16-year-old male with a gun to his head. Officers contacted both Project Respond and an adult at the location and learned that the young man struggles with mental health issues and has a counselor. After determining that the young man did not have a gun, officers arranged for the young man to see his counselor the next day.
At approximately 2:45 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to a residence in Southeast Portland's Hazelwood neighborhood on the report of an extremely agitated young man armed with a knife. Officers arrived and contacted the young man who was verbally challenging officers wanting police to kill him. Officers maintained a safe distance from the young man and continued to calm him down and talk with him. After some time, the young man calmed down enough for officers to safely take him into custody.
Officers learned that prior to their arrival, the young man threatened a female with the knife. Additionally, officers learned that the young man is struggling with some mental health issues and has been receiving treatment.
On October 16, at 4:52 a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the Hawthorne Bridge, over Southeast Water Avenue, on the report of a man hanging over the railing.
Officers arrived and began talking with the man who climbed back and forth over the rail before falling forward onto the sidewalk, allowing officers to rush to him and take him into custody before he could get back up onto the rail.
The man was transported to an area hospital with what appeared to be a combination of alcohol and mental health issues.
On Tuesday October 17, at 7:00 p.m., officers from East Precinct, along with Project Respond, went to the Gateway Fred Meyer store to check the welfare check of an unstable subject.
Officers and Project Respond were able to contact the person and provide transportation to a local hospital.
On Thursday October 18, just before 5:00 p.m., officers assigned to East Precinct responded to a residence in Southeast Portland's Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood on the report of a man out of control. Officers contacted the 21-year-old man who was throwing things around the house and threw two bottles (and missing) two police officers.
Officers took the man into protective custody and transported him to an area hospital for a mental health evaluation.
On Friday October 19, at 2:51 a.m., East Precinct officers responded to a parking lot at Southeast 122nd Avenue and Division Street on the report of a woman attempting suicide.
Officers arrived and contacted the 47-year-old woman who self-inflicted wounds to one of her wrists. The woman told police she was struggling with depression and other mental health issues.
Officers placed her into protective custody and transported her to a local hospital for treatment.
At 7:33 p.m., officers from Central Precinct responded to a residence in Southwest Portland's Homestead neighborhood on the report that a man called 9-1-1 to report that he'd cut his wrists in a suicide attempt. Officers arrived and contacted the man who cooperated with police and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.