Friday, December 09, 2005

NAMI's Statement on the Miami Shooting of Man with Bipolar Disorder

"NAMI's heart goes out to the family of Rigoberto Alpizar and to the marshals involved in the shooting, who we know must be profoundly affected by this tragedy.

We recognize that air marshals have very difficult jobs and sometimes have to make split second, life and death decisions.

NAMI calls upon the Federal Air Marshal Service and all other law enforcement agencies to take a close look at its training and education protocols and, if currently lacking, adopt measures to prepare officers to respond effectively to people with severe mental illness.

Law enforcement officers frequently come into contact with people who may be acting erratically or irrationally due to severe mental illnesses or other brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease. Many communities throughout the United States, including Miami, have adopted Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs to better prepare officers to respond to these situations. These programs work and save lives!"