Mentally ill suspects get help in Miami, jail in Michigan. Guess which works

By Ted Roelofs: For More Info, Go Here…

On a rainy Tuesday, Miami police officer Brandon Bencosme wheeled his squad car to the side of a Miami Starbucks and stepped inside.

He’d been summoned by a report of a male, possibly mentally ill, threatening staff and patrons and refusing to leave. The suspect was not difficult to spot. He was a man of about 50, with long, bedraggled gray hair. As he rocked back and forth on his heels, trembling, he alternately talked to himself, to customers or out to the universe.

Softly, patiently, Bencosme persuaded the man ‒ who called himself “John” and then “John the Baptist” ‒ to walk outside. The officer kept a respectful distance. He spoke in low and measured tones. “John, we’re here to help you,” he said. “We’d like to get you help.”

The man suddenly blurted: “There’s a dog with my friend’s name barking at me.” He motioned toward an inside corner of the store, where there was in fact no barking dog.

After 20 minutes of negotiations, a minor miracle: The man settled down enough for Bencosme to handcuff him with no resistance and place him in the back of his squad car. He would be escorted to a mental health crisis center where he would receive help and treatment.

But it was where John was not sent that rainy day in March that brought Bridge Magazine to South Florida. He was not sent to jail on some trespassing or public disturbance charge, a more likely fate had he been picked up in Michigan, where local lockups in many counties are filling up, even as state crime rates go down.

Leave a Reply