Mental health experts try talking man out of car during Monday’s standoff

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 7:21 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mental health experts at Altapointe were at Monday’s standoff, and they tried to talk the man out of his car.

MPD goes through specific mental health training to prepare them for situations like this.

“We had mental health professionals here,” said Chief Paul Prine. “We’ve done everything we know to do to resolve this peacefully, unfortunately, as I told you earlier, the gentleman in the vehicle would dictate the outcome.”

Dr. Cindy Gipson with Altapointe Health said their partnership with MPD equipped officers for unfortunate instances like this.

“If we can give officers information they need on scene, then they are better able to talk with the subjects and figure out exactly what is going on,” said Dr. Gipson. “If they have a history of mental health or substance abuse issues.”

New tools are on the way. Last month, MPD was awarded roughly $50,000 by the city council to purchase virtual reality headsets.

In the simulations, officers are given options to stabilize a suicidal person. Even though it didn’t work in Monday’s case, MPD said resources like this can be pivotal in getting people the proper care.

“We’ll be able to decipher, hey, this individual may not need to go to jail,” said Corporal Nathaniel McCarty. “They may be in crisis, and we can get them over here to the crisis center.”

Commander Curtis Graves said MPD should get those VR headsets by the end of the year.

Altapointe officials added they have a 24-hour crisis center and hotline. Anyone who needs help can come at any time. The phone number is 251-450-2211.


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