Suicide Assistance Hotline

There are few things, at least in my opinion, more tragic than somebody being pushed to the brink of suicide. It seems I am not alone in my thinking since resources have been set aside for things like suicide hotlines where people contemplating suicide can call and hopefully get talked out of it. Unfortunately a call to a suicide hotline can result in police officers being dispatched to your location. At that point the suicide hotline may very well become the suicide assistance hotline:

The 35 year old man, who neighbors describe the as a quiet, friendly man, was divorced and now lived in the home with his girlfriend and her children. According to Detective Matthew Gwynn of the Roy City Police Department, the man called a suicide hotline around 4 a.m. and threatened to kill himself. The Weber County Consolidated Dispatch Center sent officers to the resident.

“There were people in the home at the time the call was placed,” Det. Gwynn told ABC4 News. “They left the home shortly thereafter.”

Roy City Police and the Weber Metro SWAT Team tried to convince the man to surrender and get help but seven hours after the initial call, something dramatic occurred in the garage causing SWAT officers to open fire.

People whose training mostly focuses on using force are probably not the type of people you want to send to a person who just declared that they are suicidal. What is interesting about this case though is that the police are investigating it as a suicide by cop incident. In order for that to be a possible reason for the call it would require the caller to know that the suicide hotline would dispatch police officers. Furthermore it would be reliant on having officers dispatched that are more prone to shoot a suicidal man than attempt to dissuade him on committing suicide. It’s also interesting that the police, so far, haven’t released any information regarding the actions the caller took that instigate the police opening fire (or, for that matter, what a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was dispatched instead of regular police officers).

Hopefully the media actually covers the details of this case because I believe they could be very interesting.