TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A Pima Sheriff's Deputy ended a dangerous confrontation with a mental patient with words, not a gun.
Deputies, and Police say with all the emphasis on confrontations that end with a shooting, peaceful ends are really the norm for dangerous confrontations with police.
The Pima Sheriff's Department, and Tucson Police have put more and more emphasis on the delicate business of defusing mental patients before they hurt themselves or someone else. This is a case where that training paid off.
The man’s mental health clinic called 911 and said he told them he intended to commit suicide by cop.
When Detective Kurt Dabb heard deputies respond to the man’s home, he responded too.
He called the man on the phone and said, “Hey, my name's Kurt. I work for the Sheriff's Department. We're here to make sure you're okay..."
Detective Dabb says the man quickly told him he had a pellet gun not a firearm, and had set off a firecracker to make deputies think he'd fired a shot.
Soon Dabb convinced the man to surrender. Deputies took him for mental health treatment.
In January Kurt Dabb did shoot a mental patient who did have a gun, and would not surrender.
“He really wanted to die by cops. He told us, 'go ahead and kill me."
Detective Dabb shot the man in the January incident, but he lived.
Kurt Dabb was relying on mental health training and people skills from 15 years of police work.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department says it's had almost 43 hundred mental health cases so far this year.
And Sheriff Chris Nanos says he wants to prepare his newest deputies with a week of mental health training while they're still in the academy, instead of the day they get now.