CLEVELAND (AP) — A safety director in a city that released photos of a 4-year-old boy in a vehicle with two adults slumped over after overdosing on heroin and fentanyl said Friday he and others wanted to send a message…
This is an interesting job. Some surprising things happen sometimes. This morning we got an email from Police Service Officer Raquel Reyes:
I received a phone call from XXXX at approximately 1230 hours on 8/28/15. He wanted to express his appreciation & thanks towards the multiple officers that came out to his residence (XXXX Commonwealth) on 8/8/15. He had written a letter to the officers and wanted me to forward the message along:
“Thank you for being human beings and upholding the law, no matter the cost to society. Thank you for your professionalism and treating the situation as if it were your own family & people that you personally knew. Also, thank you for not shooting my pit bull, I really appreciate that.”
I see that there were many involved in the case, and again, XXXX thanks everyone involved (he was quite emotional on the phone).
I’ve taken out his name and specific address since he and some friends were arrested on the scene and are awaiting trial on drug possession. I reviewed the report yesterday as I do on all cases when force is used by officers. In this case we had a search warrant to enter and search this home for illegal drugs (something more than marijuana by the way). Our supervisor, Sergeant Hollenbeck had taken time to put together a plan to raid this home that took into consideration the safety of the officers and the people who lived there. When we learned there was a pit bull at the home, we even had a special plan to deal with that without having to hurt the dog. What made it safer is that the persons at the home were very cooperative and did as the officers asked. The whole matter can be disputed in court, the proper venue, as is the right of the defendants. When people choose to make a violent response, the chance of injury goes way, way up for both officers and the arrested persons.
I must admit I was surprised to hear the defendant called us. I hope he can get his life straightened out.
When you think about “medical marijuana” or legalized recreational marijuana make sure you are keeping in mind ALL aspects of what would be involved.
Given that we have more than one higher education institution here in town, I worry about what young people may be taking for a good time. This article highlights that drug dealers who are selling this stuff aren’t sure and/or don’t care what their substances actually are. There isn’t any quality control in the drug dealer world–they can say it’s one thing and it could be another. It is definitely a buyer beware situation. Here is an article on a recent outbreak in Connecticut.
“Medical” marijuana is still just marijuana. But it isn’t just plant material any more. It is now in other forms–much more potent. As Michigan gets closer to legalization, it is important to know all the facts. There are 13 bills in the Legislature right now related to marijuana, including bills that would expand availability. Is it really that harmless in all its forms?
You might recall that it was snowing heavily yesterday morning so officers were somewhat surprised when they were sent on the call of a naked man walking on I-75. Here is a video that one driver posted:
Actually this isn’t a call that is that unusual-it just isn’t usually on the freeway. The sergeant and the officers immediately recognized that they were probably dealing with a person who was suffering from what we know as “Excited Delirium Syndrome.” It is a medical condition and is somewhat controversial in the medical literature because there have been cases where police officers who are called to confront this kind of situation and aren’t trained to recognize it use techniques and strategies that exacerbate the situation and the person has a sudden cardiac arrest and dies.
Here is a great article from July 2014 that gives more information about it: “Excited Delirium and the Dual Response: Preventing In Custody Deaths” written by 3 physicians and published in the FBI Bulletin. The victims are usually male (average age 36); have a history of stimulant use like cocaine, meth, PCP, LSD. We actually saw a significant uptick in this kind of call before the state outlawed chemically altered substances known as “bath salts” and “spice”. Prior to the law change making these drugs illegal we were seeing these calls pretty regularly. These victims also tend to have a history of a preexisting psychological disorder and are likely to be chronic users after a binge. I don’t know if this man fit the entire profile but it is likely he fit enough of it to end up in this state. Their bodies overheat in an extreme way which is why they take off their clothes. They are very incoherent and usually combative. They are not generally cooperative with the police so a struggle can ensue in which their body further overheats and they can go into sudden cardiac arrest. If the officers aren’t prepared with medical nearby, the victim can die.
Fortunately in this case Sergeant Scott McGraw and Officers VanLandeghem, Haglund, Brehmer, Brasil and Brian Miller realized what was happening to this man and took steps to deal with this as a medical emergency. When the officers began to talk with him they realized he was delusional–Officers VanLandeghem and Haglund were able to convince him to get into the patrol car on his own–they can be seen on the video. The sergeant had already requested an ambulance to the scene but given the snow the officers decided it would be quicker to drive him to the ambulance so they drove him directly to the fire station on University to meet the ambulance. On the way, he became unresponsive. They drove the patrol car directly into the fire station bay and along with the paramedics they got him onto the gurney for transport. At that point he became combative but fortunately there was plenty of help and they were able to secure him with the ambulance restraints for transport to the hospital. The paramedics have also seen this before.
The good news is that no one was injured–not the person, not the officers and not the paramedics. Because the officers recognized the true nature of the call, they may have saved his life.
I don’t know his status as of today. I do know that his family was contacted yesterday and met him at the hospital. The officers did their best to assist the family with the next steps. It is a difficult challenge for family members. I hope they are able to find sufficient help for him.
We are proactive about our officer training. We follow the trends of our profession and search for training for our officers to help us meet new challenges as they emerge. The job is complex and ever-changing and without regular training we would not be prepared to meet situations like these.
I have actually visited a “medical” marijuana dispensary a couple of years ago when the city was considering whether to allow dispensaries. This was before the county prosecutor and the attorney general determined that dispensaries are illegal. Ok, so I wasn’t really clear about who I was–just part of the city team. So the proprietors were talkative. They were pretty up front about what they were doing and I was shocked to see how focused they were on producing hash oil and making food products to sell (all without food handling licenses, I might add), and their vision about how much more they can do with hash oil. They clearly saw it as very profitable. I can see that if we legalize or expand “medical” marijuana in Michigan, we will be facing more than the problems of grow houses (also dangerous places). We’ll be facing dangerous situations from the hash oil “chemists.”
How much do you know about marijuana? Take the quiz and separate fact from fiction.