Crisis intervention solutions: Richmond Heights police tap into training to peacefully arrest armed suspect

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:26 PM EST
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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - When Richmond Heights police officers were dispatched to investigate reports of a man waving a gun and a knife outside a local business, they knew they could be dealing with a man struggling with mental health.

While similar encounters have turned violent in recent years, this particular incident ended quickly and peacefully.

“It’s something we see a lot. We deal with it a lot, which is why we put a lot of focus, time and effort into training for those situations. The mental health aspect and de-escalation,” said Sgt. Greg Patterson. “That’s something we take seriously.”

It was around 2:20 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 when the man was first spotted outside the CVS on Monticello Blvd.

Multiple people called 911, explaining they saw him waving around a knife and gun. They said he appeared intoxicated and in their opinion, appeared to have some sort of mental health issue.

When officers arrived, they drew their guns and slowly walked toward the man, who put both hands in the air. He was arrested and in police dashcam video released to 19 News, he appeared to admit to carrying the two weapons.

Police said they recovered both of them, and later discovered the gun was not functional.

“I think it’s a reflection of how seriously we take de-escalation and training,” Sgt. Patterson said. “People are seeing what we’re doing on a daily basis, people are concerned about what we’re doing and rightfully so. I think that’s why there’s been a push for it. I think it’s a good thing. Anything we can do to resolve these situations calmly and quickly is a win for everybody.”

The 37-year-old man was charged with disorderly conduct and released into the custody of a sober alert, police said.

He’s due in court in March.