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Police need training in dealing with mentally ill [Letter]

From the article in the Aug. 28, Columbia Flyer ("Fatal police shootings put mental health in focus"), it is clear that Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has an interest in strengthening the county police force's ability to understand and deal with persons with mental health issues.

What is missing from his comments is any indication that the police should be using less lethal force in dealing with the mentally ill.  Why was it necessary for two pairs of police to shoot and kill two mentally ill persons in unrelated incidents last week, one of them a 61-year-old?  Why are they not sufficiently trained in self-defense to keep themselves from being killed while dealing with the mentally ill?

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Across our nation, police have been killing in questionable situations.  Howard County should be leading in the effort to avoid these tragedies, not joining in the killing spree.

Randolph G. Malm

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Columbia

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