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Sheriff’s Deputies Help Avert Potential Suicide by Cop  

At approximately 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 30, 2018, Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to the Santa Maria Station responded to a call of a suicidal subject who had contacted a hotline saying he had a firearm and wanted Law Enforcement to shoot him. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area and were eventually able to convince the subject to come out of his residence without the firearm.

During the course of the investigation, Deputies learned the subject planned to point his handgun at deputies to make them shoot and kill him.  The cautious approach the deputies employed resulted in a calm and safe resolution for all involved. During the contact, the subject became very agitated and was calmed by a deputy assigned to the Hostage Negotiation Team.

The subject was transported to a local hospital where an evaluation was coordinated with Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness, Mobile Crisis Team. Sheriff’s Deputies seized two firearms that were registered to the subject pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code section 8102 W&I.

This incident is an example of some of the challenges law enforcement is faced with when they come into contact with individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. The Sheriff’s Office developed and pioneered a state recognized Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program which is now available to all Santa Barbara County Law Enforcement.  The training is designed to help law enforcement learn about mental health disorders and how to best respond to situations that involve persons in mental health crisis.

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