This is one of the most disgusting pieces I've ever read. Rich Smith, who should have been fired in disgrace years ago, is literally advocating not getting people the help they need so he can soapbox about his own personal political agenda.

People could die because of this article. But at least we all know that Rich is "woke"!


So... the takeaway here is if you see what looks like an emergency situation, what you ought to do is call 911, answer the dispatcher's questions as best you can, and then let them do exactly what they've been trained to do: make the decision as to whether to send the police, the fire department, or some other service.

And for non-emergencies there are a few other options, if you still feel the need to intervene in a non-emergency after asking a person whether or not they want some help.

Does that sound about right, Rich?


Thank you Rich for this incredibly important article. I copied it into my phone.


@5 Virtue signaling your way to Harborview.


Rich has (once again) written a really good and informative article here, and one that will help a lot of people, I had not known that there were mental health first aid classes, I'll take one as soon as I can.

And while not the reason for this article, the fact that it has so triggered our troll is both funny and amusing.


I would never call the cops.

Call an ambulance/EMT or the fire department. They have medical training and they aren't armed. Until cops stop murdering people and until fucked up racist as shit white people stop calling the cops on black people for simply existing, let alone those experiencing a crisis, there is no way calling the cops will end well for anyone.

The only people cops seem capable of taking alive and without using their guns are white people who have committed mass shootings (including shooting at and sometimes even killing cops). The police are not incapable of defusing a crisis, they prefer to murder black people, because they get away with it EVERY FUCKING TIME THEY DO IT.

Anyone calling the cops on someone experiencing a crisis is asking for someone to be murdered. Period. Cops are government sanctioned, taxpayer paid murderers.

Oh and long before I had any awareness of how many black people police murder on a daily basis I was 14 years old, living in the south end of Albany, NY. I was a white teenage girl and I heard my neighbor (a white man) throwing his 11 year old daughter against the walls of their apartment and beating the living shit out of her. I called the cops. They showed up, he answered the door, they asked him if there was a problem as someone called them, he said no, they left, and that day I realized cops do not give a fuck about anyone doing anything illegal as long as they're male and have white skin. White women can pretty much get away with anything, too, considering they seem to be able to call the cops on any black person and never get in trouble for doing it. Fuck the police and fuck anyone and everyone who defends them.


Thanks for the article. It was very informative!


All this happens, Rich, because of a lack of political will to spend even more money? That's it? Is all you care about proving your progressive street cred to potential doubters in your social set? Okay, you've been approved of now. No worries about deepening the discussion; A+ for wokeness, And don't worry about probity or honesty: they don't count anymore.


Click bait achieved


The homeless lady who hand carts her stuff in plastic bins up and down the multi-use paths in Fremont and North Queen Anne ... It must be 7 or 8 years she's been living outside down there. I've tried to check in with her occasionally, but she's very not interested, pretty clearly mentally ill. I'm sure social service agencies are aware of her? Is there a way to know that? Her decline has been pretty dramatic - seemed maybe early 30's when she first showed up, but looks like she's aged 25 years over that time.


911 just sends who they think is best, they are not sitting there waiting for your untrained ass to tell them what to do.

They are not going to refuse to send cops because of your weird Judge Dredd fantasies.


@8: Well xina, did you expect that neighbor to say "Yes, I was beating up my daughter, arrest me!"

Unless there is evidence they can't take him in. Still, you did the right thing in filing a complaint for the records.

Pretty weak anecdote to try to make such a point.

What a disgusting piece, Richie.


Did not read the article, but wow slog's trolls sure got triggered by whatever it was. You snowflakes should probably go to your safe spaces to calm down.


@19 "did not read the article" just like a troll


@18 I expected them to enter the residence or at the very least ask to see the girl who would have been a bloody, bruised, beaten pulp and they could have taken him. The very point is THEY DID NOT CARE, THEY DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO CHECK ON THE GIRL. She very well could have been dead and their "appearance" and asking him such a question, which obviously he was not going to answer truthfully, is the entire point.

As for calling medics and EMTs who are trained to deal with people in crisis, if they choose to call the cops after they've arrived and assessed the situation, well if the cops murder the person in crisis after that, then it's on them isn't it.

And as for the man attacking children, that's not a man in crisis, that's a man trying to murder children. In that scenario cops showing up and murdering him would be socially accepted not wouldn't it?


@22: If you go to a doctor have a bad experience does that mean you never go to a doctor again?

If you call the cops and have a bad experience does that mean you never call the cops again?



lol sure


"@18 I expected them to enter the residence or at the very least ask to see the girl who would have been a bloody, bruised, beaten pulp and they could have taken him."

Much like the rape the kits the Seattle Police and King County Sheriff Department consistently fail to submit to the crime lab for analysis, most police don't get too worked about about things like domestic violence and rape. Call it professional courtesy.

Great article Rich. Thank you for making the community aware that non-violent responses to someone having a mental health crisis exist.

And you're right; the KOMO news team are a bunch of hacks who have been drunken cheerleaders for mass incarceration as the solution to every problem for years.


@23 you are missing the point entirely. my account is not what made me decide to never call the cops. my account showed me at the age of 14 that cops are not there to help or protect people. every incident of cops murdering black people since then and especially in the years since technology has enabled people to broadcast those murders to the world for everyone to see (and still the cops pay no price for murdering those black people) is what informs my personal decision to never call the cops. there are plenty of other people out there willing to call the cops and who do not care at all if the cops murder anyone because of that phone call.

there are plenty of dissertations and essays and arguments found online about why one should NEVER call the cops. i am hardly the first person to take this position and i won't be the last.

@25 as I stated before, if they want to call the cops, that's on them. and just because there is a law in place does not mean it is followed by those meant to follow it (if that were the case we would not have a country full of cops murdering black people). seattle has a crisis intervention policy in place for first responders and it is not the law you quote above.


Thank you Rich for a very informative piece. I particularly liked the verbiage provided by the professionals you interviewed to use when calling 911 to help ensure the correct response team is dispatched. Especially the bit about describing what the person you're calling about is experiencing and NOT how it is effecting you the caller.
Since all the people you spoke to have a lot of experience dealing with people in crisis I feel confident that their advice is probably more sound than that of Our Usual Suspects fulminating here in the comments.
And thanks for the link to the mental health first aid classes! That's very useful.


@28: Fuck off and leave xina be.


@27: Nevertheless, I will take your "NEVER" as hyperbole because I don't believe for a second that you would not call 911 if you or a loved one were in a life threatening situation or that you would not call to protect the lives of others.


@31 I would call an EMT and say there was a medical emergency. If a gun was involved I'd be dead before they arrived. If someone was killing people, I would probably call the cops, but then again the cops were called on a man with a gun and when the black security guard disarmed that armed man and stopped him, the cops showed up and murdered him, so I'd have to say that I believe I would never call the cops, ever, no matter what was happening. There are plenty of other people in the world who are perfectly willing to call the cops and do not care that cops murder people. Since it is impossible for you to state anything about me as hyperbolic (or otherwise) since you don't know me personally, you can believe whatever you want. I have already had experiences where I did not call the cops, so I'm betting on me, not you.


"@27: Nevertheless, I will take your "NEVER" as hyperbole because I don't believe for a second that you would not call 911 if you or a loved one were in a life threatening situation or that you would not call to protect the lives of others."

I don't think it's hyperbole at all. Given now few violent crimes the police ever follow up on let alone solve, why would you call the most violent and lawless criminals among us (the police) to investigate lower level criminals? Hollywood and the mass media aside, in real life the response of police to real crime that involves actual victims is entirely uneven, randomly violent and typically callous towards the actual victims that are foolish enough to call them, which is why fewer and fewer people are calling even once, let alone twice. Criminality is so common among the police that even non police criminals often claim to be police since their's a better than 50/50 the criminal really is a cop.

You need to get over the naïve idea that the police are hired to stop or prevent crime. They're hired to protect the rich and politically connected by enforcing social norms/extracting money and bodies from the poor and marginalized to keep their paychecks and bodies for the prison system coming in.

It's already been shown that there is no correlation between police and a reduction in crime, but I suspect if the police stopped hiding behind an impenetrable wall of non-disclosure agreements designed to hide their own criminality it would show a correlation between an escalation in police and an escalation in crime. Police themselves are the primary source of the violence in society. Stop pretending like they are here to "protect" us.


@34: Indeed, you nuanced the 'NEVER'.


Boy this mild article triggered the trollflakes bigtime. The idea of distinguishing health from safety!


To protect and serve.

Government is really just another name for those things we choose to do together as a group.


@22 Except for calling a medic or an EMT specifically, in an emergency, isn't really a thing. If you call a fire station's direct line or try some ambulance company—just as your local precinct non-emergency line will—they will tell you to hang up and call 911. From there, their dispatch will decide who the appropriate responders should be.

I'm starting to think there are people with opinions on here that are sharing what they'd like to do in theory but don't have much experience with the issue.


@39 if you call 911 and say someone is having a medical emergency why would they send the police? a mental health crisis is a medical emergency. any type of physical assault is also a medical emergency. no i do not have any experience with the issue, but it's what i would do.
and @36 since i am disabled and spend 99.999999999% of my time in my home, the chances of me needing to call the cops because i was witnessing a mass shooting or any other such crime is pretty much 0.000000001% so, again, i'm going with never. if the crime were happening in my home to me, i'd be dead before i could even make a phone call, so again, going with never.


@40 The dispatcher will decide who should arrive based on the situation you've described, and likely, availability. If the issue doesn't involve immediate threat violence it will most likely be the fire department, but I've seen wellness checks involve the police. What I mean to say is if it's an emergency, you call 911, there isn't a paramedics-only hotline.

I don't work as any sort of First Responder but I do deal with wellness checks on unresponsive people on a semi-regular basis in my neighborhood. I keep my local precinct non-emergency number in my phone but in the last few cases where I couldn't varify breathing, they told me to call 911.

In cases of people experiencing a mental crisis—I guess you'll have to use your best judgment as to how much of a threat they are to the public. I'd hate to set into motion a response that cost someone their life but I'd hate even more to ignore the threat and let someone be harmed because I didn't feel like dealing with it.


@41 the entire reason I don't want to call the police is because I do not want to be responsible for an innocent person being murdered by the cops. no where did i say "i don't feel like dealing with it."


@40: Sorry, you can't go with NEVER because in @34 you said:

"If someone was killing people, I would probably call the cops,"

I'm am positive you would call the cops in that case, unless you want to take that back.


@42 It all depends on the situation. You can decide if what you're seeing is a run-of-the-mill episode, or if you're intentionally ignoring a mental crisis that might result in a person hurting themselves or others. Most don't, but sometimes it's down to whatever you would rather have your conscience (I say "don't feel like dealing with it" because, in all honesty, it feels like the "out of sight, out of mind" response). I neighbor response a few years ago ended in the death of a young man—it's a complicated case, but being that caller is also one of my bigger fears.

The threat of overreaction by police feels very real, but police also deal with these situations dozens of times a day without making headlines.


A few typos in my post, I know, I know


45: That's good! That's the first step, admitting you made typographical errors. Next, you must learn from them. Luckily, you won't be penalized. And your little picture there is making me hungry! Who among us does not love tater tots and ketchup?!


@43 you're positive, huh? okay then.


If you call 911 they may, for the simple fact of it going across radio dispatches, attach police officers to also show up, in which they may do more than just crowd/traffic control, like run background checks on people, possibly escalating things from there.

Additionally, if you're an actual minority of any kind you are not guaranteed the cops will ever be friendly, or need to be friendly. There is a lot of good reason to not involve cops. There is a lot of completely understandable fear, especially when you see cops wearing Nazi-virtue-signaling blue line flags.

I once had to involve cops over an attempted suicide, and I was at least told by close friends that they were completely professional and understanding. I was lucky. It doesn't always turn out that way for everyone, though.

Unless it's life or death, you're 10x better off going to a nearby immediate clinic if at all possible. Also, I advise to keep your own medical supplies handy just in-case.



"I advise to keep your own medical supplies handy just in-case."

No, no, don't call 911 for an ambulance, they might send COPS! I've got a leather strap, a bottle of whiskey, a saw, and a piece of wood to bite down on. Let's take care of this ourselves!


@44: Don't even bother. These nuts think that they are deciding who the emergency dispatcher sends, and also think they actually know what to do in an emergency. They have also convinced themselves that the police murder everyone they see.

There is no reason here, only overwrought and performative emotions. These are the exact LAST people you want to depend on in an emergency. They are panicky and clueless.

The police in america have roughly 55 million contacts with civilians every year, and about 1,200 civilians are killed by cops every year, total. You do the math on how likely you are to be shot by a cop, especially if you are non violent.


@50 "especially if you are not violent" does not line up with reality given the number of non-violent and unarmed black people murdered by police in comparison with the armed and having just committed mass murder white males taken in quietly and alive. you live in a fucking fantasy land.


@50, @51

Last time I went and looked, there were no accurate national statistics available on police shootings, deaths in police custody, charges/trials/findings of unnecessary use of force, etc. etc. (possibly because police unions are opposed to compiling it, though I haven't seen the evidence laid out for that, either).

Care to give me a pointer to where you folks are getting the ratios you're referencing in your respective comments?

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