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Prison no solution for mental illness

Hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear about some horrible event happening somewhere in the country. I’d like to address it, from a human perspective, to stimulate conversation and possible solutions.

Years ago, it appears some “well-meaning” civil rights group(s) bartered for and successfully obtained laws protecting the rights of all persons. I submit to you that with rights comes responsibility. We have many people that do not have the capacity to take responsibility because of one form or another of mental illness.

Mental illness poses extremely difficult challenges for the law because many forms of the disorder affect self-awareness and perception, compromising individuals’ ability to understand their own circumstances and the reality that surrounds them. Who should decide what is in someone’s best interest if he or she is mentally ill? How can we best respect individual autonomy and self-determination, cornerstones of American law, when dealing with conditions that can rob a person of the self? At what point do society’s interests supersede the individual’s? How do we reconcile the concept of individual responsibility with an understanding of mental illness?

Then extend the conversation to include the fact that many in this situation self-medicate with legal and illegal drugs and the situation can quickly spin out of control. It’s time to have some real and hard conversations, on a legislative level, to protect the lives of our citizens with alternatives other than prisons and hospitals.

Let’s agree to disagree on some points and find a solution. Our very lives may depend on it.

Sept. 24. Disturbance: An older individual on a skateboard was warned about riding in the roadway at 1:25 a.m. in the 1300 block of Georgia Avenue.

Suspicious: A person is in the lobby requesting aid after not being satisfied with the service provided in Las Vegas at 4:34 p.m. in the 1000 block of Arizona Street.

Threats: A man is caught off guard after he receives a death threat after asking for a girl’s phone number at 10:01 p.m. in the 1500 block of Marita Drive.

Thought for the day: More and more homeless and mentally ill individuals are riding the bus to our city looking for aid as the numbers grow at the shelters in Las Vegas.

Sept. 25. Animal: Two aggressive dogs bite an elderly male near the water park at 6:58 a.m. in the 1900 block of Buchanan Boulevard.

Family disturbance: Several calls are received about a man and woman fighting so loud it can be heard for blocks at 8:40 a.m. in the 1300 block of Darlene Way.

Suspicious: A man seems to be taking a nap on the sidewalk at 11:57 p.m. in the area of Cottonwood Drive and Avenue A.

Thought for the day: Nothing says a concrete bed without a pillow sounds good like a fifth of Vodka.

Sept. 26. Burglary: A man neglects to check when he hears his garage door open and now the laptop and weapons are missing at 4:53 a.m. in the 200 block of Kaelyn Street.

Suspicious: An intoxicated man insists that the house he is trying to enter is his own; however, the caller assures us it is not at 4:55 a.m. in the 600 block of Avenue B.

Suspicious: A naked woman appears to be urinating in the middle of the street in the area of Los Tavis Drive and Georgia Avenue.

Thought for the day: I wish that we could have just one day with kids considering drug use to see how it ends up in the middle of the street.

Sept. 27. Trespass: Mother is forced to trespass her daughter to keep her grandchildren safe at 5:12 p.m. in the 700 block of Elm Street.

Suspicious: A neighbor tasked with watching a friend’s house finds someone having a party in the yard at 7:01 p.m. in the 100 block of Stone Canyon Road.

Suspicious: The caller doesn’t want to file a report; however, he swears he was surrounded by armed bikers who scared him into leaving the area at 7:03 p.m. in the 800 block of Nevada Way.

Thought for the day: The choice to take the prescribed medication is theirs to make; however, it’s the kids and the parents who suffer when they don’t.

Sept. 28. Suspicious: An intoxicated subject isfound behind the church sleeping it off at 8:10 a.m. in the 800 block of Avenue B.

Assist other: A subject is taken into custody, car impounded, and toted off to meet Metropolitan Police Department all because the driver decided to ignore a ticket at 4:35 p.m. in the area of U.S. Highway 93 and Gingerwood Drive.

Suspicious: Two individuals are loitering and one of them has a narcotics warrant to address at 6:46 p.m. in the 800 block of Avenue A.

Thought for the day: If it weren’t for drugs and alcohol, it would be a fairly dull day.

Sept. 29. DUI: The impaired driver is in tears over his parakeet passengers having to go to “lockdown” at 4:15 a.m. in the area of U.S. Highway 93 and Nevada Way.

Family disturbance: A man and woman are keeping the whole area disrupted at 12:46 p.m. in the 900 block of Nevada Way.

Traffic hazard: A slow-moving scooter is causing a traffic hazard at 12:55 p.m. in the area of Gingerwood Drive and U.S. Highway 93.

Thought for the day: Who takes their parakeets out drinking?

Sept. 30. Fight: Two girls are duking it out in the middle of the street at 2:18 a.m. in the 1400 block of Rawhide Road.

Welfare: An inebriated subject calls the court to assure officials that the narcotics spread all over the floor doesnt’ belong to the caller and the judge thinks we should go check on things at 11:40 a.m. in the 1200 block of Potosi Street.

Accident: A man crashes his car trying to avoid a coyote in the area of U.S. Highway 95 and Silverline Road.

Thought for the day: Don’t risk your life trying to miss animals on the roadway. It can have deadly consequences.

Call(s) of the week: Medical: Enroute (at least 10 times per month) to evaluate a patient with mental illness who wants a trip into Las Vegas and cannot call a private ambulance until ours responds first at 10:01 p.m. in the 800 block of Nevada Way on Sept. 28.

Have a great week.

Tina Ransom is a dispatcher with Boulder City Police Department. She is coordinator of the Boulder City Citizen’s Academy.

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