By Shomari Stone, NBC Washington
Two Maryland police officers are being credited for helping calm down a man having a behavioral health crisis.
Hyattsville police received a call Saturday about an agitated, angry man inside the convenience store at a Sunoco gas station on East West Highway.
Officers Edgar Andrickson-Franco and Mancini Gaskill responded.
“When we first arrived, he appeared to be incoherent,” Andrickson-Franco said. “He wasn’t making much sense.”
“We engaged in conversation with him and we didn’t want to be too overbearing,” Gaskill said.
Andrickson-Franco sat down on the floor with the man. He said at times the man became verbally abusive, but he refused to react.
“Me reacting the way he was reacting wasn’t going to get us anywhere,” Andrickson-Franco said. “If anything, it would have worsened the situation.”
The officers were understanding, built trust, and the man calmed down
“I let him know I was there to help him out,” Andrickson-Franco said.
He eventually handed over his phone. The officers called his relatives, and they picked him up at the gas station.
The encounter is an example of what the Hyattsville Police Department is teaching in their new pilot program called Mental Health and Wellness Program.
“It feels really good to know that they were able to deescalate that situation,” said Hyattsville police spokesperson Adrienne Augustus, a manager of the program.
“Not everyday situation you have to arrest somebody, right?” said. “That’s not our job. Our job is to help.”
Next month the department will have a Mental Health and Wellness Day focusing on mental health and domestic abuse training.