What if police knew how to talk to the mentally ill?

There’s still a chance, albeit somewhat slim, that the Minnesota Legislature will pass legislation to require an estimated 10,000 police officers in Minnesota to get four hours of training on how to respond to mental health calls.

Most experts seem to agree that that’s not nearly enough, but it’s better than nothing, given the shooting by police in Roseville earlier this year in which police escalated a wellness check on a man having an episode by deciding it was the right time to break down a door and send a police dog in after discovering there was a warrant for his arrest. His crime? He had once given a false name to the cops. Now he’s dead.

The legislation may appear in a Senate judiciary finance bill. It has opponents in the House, however.

What could police learn that they don’t already know? Last night on PBS’ NewsHour, Paton Blough, who suffers from bipolar disorder, provided the answers in a heartfelt essay on what it’s like to be mentally ill when the cops arrive.

Legislation to require the training is probably dead for the session, despite the glimmer of life on the Senate side. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says the chair of the House Public Safety Committee, a retired police officer, will not schedule a hearing on the legislation.