After so many diaries lately of police brutality, militarization, and otherwise bad behavior, it seems a good time to praise a Missouri police department that’s getting it right.
First a little introduction to set the scene of what two officers walked into this afternoon:
On my way home from work today, there was a woman lying in the street, a side road. When she noticed that a few cars had stopped, she started screaming about “he left me,” walked 100 feet across a grassy area, and dropped to the ground at the very edge of the right lane of the major intrastate passing through town, her head inches from the cars racing to their long weekend (we’re on the main route to Truman Reservoir from Kansas City). A quick 911 call later, I’m standing on the edge of that highway directing traffic out of that lane. When she notices me, she escalates and approaches visibly upset, borderline suicidal, and looking like she’s either been drinking or on drugs. She’s yelling about killing herself, and her body language is combative.
This is when the Clinton police show up- two officers, coming from opposite directions, arrive to find a potentially dangerous situation. Rather than barking commands or drawing his weapon, the first officer approaches and talks to the woman calmly and politely! He de-escalates her without the use of threats, commands, or intimidation. The second officer stays back, waits for me to disengage and come talk to him, and then quietly asks questions about the woman. They aren’t aggressive, they aren’t dolled up in bulletproof vests or surplus army gear, and at no point do their hands go anywhere near the vicinity of their guns.
When I left, they were calmly talking with her while she sat on the ground, no restraints, presumably waiting for a crisis professional to come assist her.
Kudos to the Clinton Missouri Police Department for policing in a manner that benefits the community.