MPD’s Crisis Intervention Team Trained To Handle Mentally Ill Suspects

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(Memphis)  The Memphis police officer who shot a man Monday is temporarily off duty while the department investigates.

Neighbors say this all started because Johnny Taylor was shooting his neighbors pit bull puppies

He got frustrated when his neighbor told him to stop, so he taunted the neighbor about calling police.

When police got the call Monday to go to Taylor’s house, they were told he was mentally ill by witnesses.

Knowing that changes the way police go into a situation, but it didn't change the fact that they had to shoot when they say Taylor started shooting.

“I heard more shots once he went inside and then he came back out and he was just shooting up in the air,” said witness Nita Reeves.

Reeves saw the whole thing and says after all that, Taylor went back into his house and started yelling at his mom.

“'I'm tired of being disrespected in my house,’ and I know she was going to talk to him about his girlfriend staying over there all the time,” said Reeves.

The yelling and shooting was all it took for neighbors to call 911 and tell authorities that a man, who they believed was suffering from mental illness, was on a rampage.

MPD says the crisis intervention team was sent to handle the situation.

“He was a sweet guy. He would do anything for anybody, but he just got drunk and lost it,” said Reeves.

The Crisis Intervention Team is specially trained to handle situations just like this.

The team's officers go through a 40-hour training course and train ten more hours every year on how to handle suspects who may be mentally ill or intoxicated.

MPD says the officers are taught skills to calm situations down and to listen for trigger words that could cause things to turn deadly.

In training, they also role-play and use stories from experienced officers.

Police say if they can't talk a suspect down, they are forced to use deadly force so no officers are killed or injured.

Back in March, police also shot and killed a south Memphis man with mental illness who was firing a shotgun in the middle of the street.