How officers deal with threats of suicide
Local law enforcement officers explain their training process for helping people with suicidal thoughts.
Officers throughout the Tennessee Valley have been sharing their condolences after learning about the death of Metro Police Officer, Eric Mumaw.
Mumaw died while trying to save a woman who was threatening to drive her car into the Cumberland River, Thursday morning.
Dalton Police Department's Patrol Division Commander, Chris Cooke, said unfortunately threats of suicide are almost a daily occurrence.
"We receive numerous suicide attempt calls.Suicide attempts are rising; always have been," said Cooke.
He said its been at least a year since he and his fellow officers have dealt with a deadly situation, but they're trained year-round as a precaution.
"We hear the term mentally ill and things like that all of the time, but really what it is is it could be somebody just going through a crisis a daily crisis," said Cooke. "Our officers are trained on how to try to talk to those people, how to talk to them in general and try to identify the people that are in crisis and what they can do about it."
Cooke said every situation is different and should be handled as such, especially if it's deadly.
"Anytime we have a law enforcement officer killed either through an accident, through malice or something like that you know we like to take a look at each case and see if there's something we can do in our training. Is there something we can do better to prevent things like that happening?"
But he said officers must always keep one thing in mind.
"The biggest thing is for our officers to remain calm and try to have some kind of control over the situation, but not be so pushy and so control oriented that we force the other person to do something," said Cooke.
An officer's mental well-being is also vital in their ability to protect and serve the community. It's why the department offers support from a volunteer chaplain program, supervisors and peer counselors before and after an incident.
"We also have an early intervention program that allows us to go back and see what has the officer done in the last year or two and see if there's any red flags or indicators and then we can reach out and see if there are actually any issues going on," said Cooke.
But with all the training and support, Cooke said you just never know what could happen in the line of duty.
"All you can really do is give them the tools they need and for them it's problem solving mode, common sense mode, you know how can we help people the quickest, the best way to do it and they pretty much have to think on their own."