Lafayette Sheriff Deputy credited with saving life of man who had knife to self-harm

Louisiana Network

Lafayette Parish Sheriff

The quick thinking, calm demeanor and specialized training of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Deputies who responded to a call from a suicidal individual helped save a life on Monday, May 24, 2021.

The call came in from an address in Scott, La. at approximately 3:00 p.m.

On the phone, the caller indicated he was in possession of a knife and would harm himself if law enforcement did not arrive within five minutes. Responding deputies were able stay in contact with the caller as they were en route, attempting to keep the individual calm in this time of personal crisis.

Deputies arrived on the scene and located the caller, who was holding the knife against his wrist outside of a residence.

Using techniques learned through specialized training, like 21st Century Policing, ICAT-CIT, De-escalation and Real World Scenarios for Enforcement and Corrections, Defensive Tactics Scenarios, Suicide Prevention and Intervention, and Use of Force, deputies talked with the individual on scene. Multiple attempts were made to convince the individual to drop the knife, but were initially unsuccessful. In part, because the individual stated his hands were cramped, and he physically could not release the knife.

After more than 90 minutes of working with the suicidal individual, deputies were able to come up with a plan to safely remove the knife. The individual agreed to comply with the plan, which consisted of deputies using a rope fashioned into a lasso-type tool to secure the individual’s hand and safely approach him. Once the caller’s wrist was secured, deputies were able to get close enough to assist with prying the knife from his clamped fist.

The individual continued to state he wanted to harm himself and indicated he had previously been hospitalized for suicidal and homicidal thoughts. Throughout their interaction with the caller, deputies were able to use their knowledge and training to convince the individual to seek help. The suicidal individual was willingly transported by Acadian Ambulance for medical assistance. The individual was also referred to the Beacon Network for evaluation and services.

The partnership between LPSO and the Beacon Network delivers coordinated health and social services in an integrated and person-centered manner. LPSO contracts with Beacon to provide non-clinical case management to individuals with a suspected mental illness or early stages of dementia.

“The specialized de-escalation training received by these deputies is put to the test nearly every day.  I am proud of the creative and caring approach shown by these deputies in their peaceful disarming of this subject without using force,” said Sheriff Garber.

Had it not been for the deputies’ training and careful, measured approach, this call could have had a much different outcome.

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