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Government
1:24 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

Training Police To Deal With People Who Have Mental Health Issues

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — When New York City police responded to a Brooklyn apartment last year, they were confronted by a man who banged on their patrol car with a steak knife, refused orders to put it down and was finally shot to death by officers.

What police didn't know was that 22-year-old Rexford Dasrath had a long history of mental illness, and his mother believes he would be alive today if police were better trained to deal with such situations.

Mental health advocates agree, and they propose spending $2 million so cities statewide can establish training programs to help officers de-escalate such confrontations and get treatment for some suspects.

A Brooklyn Democrat has introduced legislation to establish a pilot program. A separate measure is being sought in the City Council.