A young boy on a bike crosses the street without looking. The young lady driving the car is busy texting. She doesn’t see the boy until it’s too late. The young woman follows the ambulance to the hospital and nervously paces the floor of the emergency room while the boy is being treated. A doctor comes out and gives her the news. The injury is not life-threatening, but serious enough to warrant a hospital stay. Relieved, but still visibly upset, she sits and wonders what to do next.
A mother gets a phone call from the police department. Her son has been hurt in an accident and is at the local hospital. No information is given about his condition. She races to the hospital and runs into the emergency room. She finds local law enforcement there as well as doctors and nurses who explain the situation to her. She spies a young woman sitting and realizes from the information she has, just exactly who that person is. The mother advances towards her in a very threatening way and begins yelling and screaming at the driver of the car who has nearly killed her only son. She is clearly out of control and on the verge of doing something that would be completely out of character for her.
Just then, one of the police officers steps in and tries to calm the mother down. She is not listening to reason and does not even hear what the officer is saying. Realizing the mother’s state of mind, the officer directs the driver of the car to leave the area and go outside. Without questioning and realizing that her own safety may be in jeopardy, she quickly goes towards the exit and waits outside. This buys the officer time to get the mother to focus on him while he verbally deescalates her and distracts her with questions that he already has answers for. A potential physical altercation is avoided and a serious crisis is successfully managed. There was no yelling, threat of arrest or intimidation on the part of the officer. Just a caring, organized approach to irrational behavior.
I hear stories like this everyday in my job as a Professional Staff Instructor. The man who told me this story already knew that he had done the “right” thing. Each and everyday, millions of human service providers successfully intervene is crisis situations like the one described above. Each and everyday, these heroes of human service do the “right” thing.
The Crisis Prevention Institute would like to recognize these individuals and validate that when they provide for the best possible Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM of all involved in a crisis situation; they are indeed, doing the right thing.