Mentally Ill Suspects Get Help in Miami, Jail in Michigan. Guess Which Works

Michigan Health Watch

By Ted Roelofs

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.”

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