LETTER: Alberni RCMP inspector’s comments reflect reality for mentally ill

To the Editor,

There is nothing “misleading and dangerous” about RCMP Inspector Brian Hunter’s comments in the AVNews (April 27) as a letter in the May 11 AV News suggests (“RCMP Insp.’s comments poor”). He simply stated a fact: people in a state of mental disease “often get into crime”.

And not as a career choice, but because mental illness-driven misbehaviour caused them to run afoul of the law.

Rightly so, they do not belong in the inspector’s cell block. But because government authorities have failed to ensure adequate available health and social-services resources, care of citizens in mental difficulty often falls to the police as part of providing public safety.

Small wonder so many police marry nurses or social-workers: other professionals, dedicated to helping humans at their worst and usually hard done by less than supportive governments.

Last but not least, let’s not forget that “it’s very taxing on the police, for sure!” Remember: they are people too, trying to “maintain the right” on everyone’s behalf.

Rather than criticize the police, lobby government to provide mental health and other services citizens need.

Liz Stonard,

Port Alberni