Actual Article from the Charlotte Observer


As you well know, I'm a big advocate for Mental Health. Also in the same light I'm also an advocate for Mental Health Training for Police Officers and the creation of Special Mental Health Response Teams. In a recent shooting here in Charlotte North Carolina regarding a Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer Daniel Flynn. What caught my attention was the heading of the article that appeared in the Charlotte Observer entitled: "Mental Health Crisis We Failed Another Citizen".


27 year old Charlotte Resident Charlie Shoupe who was shot by Law-Enforcement on the 2nd of February 2018 because he ran toward Police Officer Daniel Flynn with a knife while he was responding to a Service Call. At the time, Charlie Shoupe was also being serviced by Mental Health Providers prior to the shooting. Charlie Shoupe had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. It was also reported in the Charlotte Observer that CMPD has been previously called out to Charlie Shoupe's home to the tune of 11 times. In addition, it was also reported to the Charlotte Observer that Charlie Shoupe has had previous run in with Law-Enforcement on several occasions.

Actual Article from the Charlotte Observer


Moreover, it was also reported that his Social Media FaceBook Profile further articulated his run in with Law Enforcement. So I can firmly say that the dangerous combination of being diagnosed with Schizophrenia, acts of self-harm and thoughts of suicide, the 11 times CMPD has been called to his residence, the violent assaults on Psychiatric and Security Personnel in conjunction with his previous run-ins with Law-Enforcement should have been a strong indicator of him being in need of a Special Mental Health Response Team.


There are two things that I wish to shed some light on regarding this shooting incident. However, before I do I wish to make one thing clear; this is not an attempt to say that the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer Daniel Flynn who was involved in the shooting did not follow the protocols for dealing with Charlie Shoupe. I believe that Officer Daniel Flynn did in fact comply with the Laws and protocol set forth by CMPD.

Actual Article from the Charlotte Observer


However, in regards to 911 Operators and Dispatchers, I wish to convey that I wish that 911 Operators and Dispatchers could be granted the authorization to dispatch Mental Health Service Calls. Now I do understand that 911 Operators and Dispatchers are already swapped with the high volume of Service Calls on a day to day basis already. But, all that simply means is that we must find a way to train and hire more 911 Operators and Dispatchers.


Secondly, it is also my position that there should have been a special unit created to respond to Mental Health Service Calls. The reason why I say this is because no longer can we rely on "Hard-Line Tactics" to respond to Service Calls. I need you to remember that times have changed. We no longer have a “Crime Issue” (we never did) - we have “Social Issues”. This position could not be any more relevant than in the case of Charlie Shoupe. It is my professional position that if there were a special unit that was created to deal with Mental Health Service Calls such as this one, there would be a very strong possibility that Charlie Shoupe could still be alive today.


Granted CMPD Officers do take a five day training course called Crisis Intervention Team or C.I.T.. But that training is only five days and provides instruction on de-escallation techniques and how to identify signs of Mental Illness and Addiction. It was reported to the Charlotte Observer that a little more than 600 CMPD Officers are C.I.T. Trained out of roughly 1,849.


What this means is that 1 out of 3 CMPD Officers are trained in C.I.T.. Which is a good thing. But five days of training is simply not enough to deal with and or respond to Mental Health Service Calls. Just like it takes months of developing the muscle memory needed to successfully deploy a weapon system, it take just as much training and repetition (if not more) when it comes to working with people with Mental Health Issues.


This is especially true with people are caught in Critical Incidents such as the one Charlie Shoupe and the Officers found themselves in. Normally to be considered effective in the field when it comes to dealing with people that are suffering from Mental Health Issues requires at least a few of years of formal education and 3,000 Clinical hours. Let that sink in.

Actual Article from the Charlotte Observer


According to one witness the CMPD Officer Daniel Flynn did not want to shoot Charlie Shoupe, which is a good thing since it identifies and establishes the best intentions of the Officer. However, I can’t help but wonder if there was more that the Officer could have done in terms of Less Lethal Options. Again, I’m just curious as I have to account for the fact that things are different when you are actually in the situation. I know what I’m talking about, I’ve been there.


Again, we should be going beyond administering general Welfare Checks and instead seek ways to embark on a proactive efforts to construct Special Mental Health Response Teams not only here in Charlotte North Carolina but on a national scale. Keep in mind that there are Charlie Shoupe's all around the country. In this case, this can be perceived as “Suicide by Cop”. In any case, I want you to remember that all Law-Enforcement agencies have to exercise a reasonable amount of care which is also known as "Duty of Care" to the people that they are servicing.


WORTHY OF NOTE: For all the people that say one round will be enough to stop someone, this should be proof positive that that kind of thinking is false. In this case, it took 9 rounds before the Officer determined that Charlie Shoupe was no longer a threat.







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