Jimmy is homeless. He often lives on the street and does not bathe often. When Jimmy can, he stays in shelters. However, they have sobriety rules, and Jimmy has violated the shelter rules repeatedly. Then he gets kicked out of the shelter, and it gets harder to get back in again. He has not had an apartment or home to call his own since he left his parents’ house. Jimmy has been arrested multiple times. Usually for minor offenses like burglary, theft, drugs, or public disorder. He uses alcohol and drugs to cover up the depression that he is usually feeling. While Jimmy sometimes thinks about suicide, he believes that he has not overtly acted upon those feelings; instead, he will usually drink or do drugs until he passes out. Jimmy feels that the world is not fair, and no matter what he does, he ends up in trouble or broke. Jimmy has gone to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narc Anon on multiple occasions. He has never taken it seriously and never gone very often. Jimmy has tried to work multiple different jobs, but he has never really been able to keep a job. Jimmy starts out a job with good thoughts and intentions. As the job goes on, and it usually does not take very long, something will happen, and Jimmy will start to feel like the other workers are against him.
He will feel like they do not want him to be there. Jimmy starts to argue and does not work well with the other employees. The other employees are not sure why Jimmy is acting the way he does, they liked him when he first started, but now, they are fed up with him yelling and behaving disrespectfully. Jimmy will start drinking or doing drugs to help himself feel better. While he is drinking, he thinks he can decide what to do, making more sense to him.
Jimmy is in another one of his down moods. He does not have a job and has no money to get drunk or high. Jimmy grabs a knife and decides he is going to commit a get some money. Jimmy puts the knife in his pocket. He tells himself he will not use it but needs it to get the money. Jimmy goes to the edge of a local park. He sees someone walking alone on a path. The person is dressed nice and looks like they would have some money. Jimmy walks up behind the person and pulls out his knife.
Jimmy grabs the person from behind and demands money. The person was startled and turned around quickly. Jimmy thinks the person is fighting back and, without thinking, thrusts the knife out at the person instinctively. The person grunts and falls to the ground. Jimmy realizes that he just stabbed the person. Suddenly Jimmy hears other people yelling and runs.
As he is running across the park, he comes to a police officer. Jimmy hears people yelling, “that is him,” and the police officer yells at Jimmy to stop.
Jimmy does not want to stop; he is scared. Jimmy is still holding a bloody knife in his hand. Jimmy sees the police officer pull out his gun and yell at Jimmy to stop.
Jimmy stops. His arms are down at his sides. Jimmy is thinking about how his whole life has been a failure. Jimmy does not want to go back to prison, and now he is scared because he does not know if the person he stabbed is alive or dead.
Jimmy just stands there holding the knife, arms at his side, thinking should he run, should he give up, or should he just let the officer shoot him and end his misery?
In your initial post,
In a 600 word post, discuss how this situation should be handled from the perspective of the police officer. Answer the question: What should the officer do? Moreover, include responses to the following questions.
- What is the criminological theory that explains why Jimmy is in this situation?
- Are police officers trained to handle chemical dependency and mental health type issues?
- Is someone like Jimmy a threat to the officer and others in the area?
- Can unarmed mental health professionals handle calls like this?