Police officers learn de-escalation techniques




Police officers learn de-escalation techniques

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent – 


Officer Alaric Tucker of the Englewood Police Department remembers the call. It was for a person with mental illness who refused to take his medication and the situation was escalating.

“When we first approached him, he was very combative, he didn’t want to talk,” he said. “Other officers were in there ready to go, and then the sergeant came on scene and tranquility just came over this dude.”

Sgt. Lester Martin says it was as simple as speaking about basketball.

“He really enjoyed basketball, and we had an argument over who was better LeBron or Michael Jordan, etc, and then I got him to trust me. And after 45 minutes to an hour of conversation, it was, listen, I understand you haven’t been taking your medication, maybe we should get you some help and he agreed,” said Martin.

Officers are taking a course called Crisis Intervention Team to help in situations like Tucker’s. It brings together law enforcement officers and mental health professionals over a five day, 40 hour period to learn from each other through various exercises.

There was a session on verbal judo, which talked about body language and listening skills when speaking with people going through a mental health crisis. For example, avoiding words like “come here,” “calm down” and “because those are the rules.”

“It’s difficult for someone who’s in crisis to turn that off. You can’t turn your voices off. They’re there forever. And so it really allows them to empathize, to understand how to better work with them,” said Amie Del Sordo, vice president of hospital and community services for CarePlus New Jersey.

Pill bottles filled with candy are for another training exercise. Each person has to take the fake medication several times a day to understand what it’s like for someone living with mental illness.

Martin says what happens is the participants forget to take them a lot of the time.

“Now you understand what they go through on a daily basis. It’s bridging the gap is what we’re really trying to do,” said Martin.

One in 10 calls for police service is from a person with a severe mental illness.

“Prior to coming to this, those kinds of situations, a guy got tased, a guy had to go to the hospital because he had to be physically restrained and we had to involuntarily take him up in handcuffs because we just couldn’t get him under control, officers got hurt, things like that,” said Martin.

The risk of being killed during a police incident is 16 times greater for those individuals.

“We don’t want to get hurt. We don’t want to hurt anybody, so it’s easier to talk to somebody,” said Martin.

“All officers should have to go through this training because the mental health population is just increasing and increasing. It’s rising,” said Alaric.

In less than two years, 155 mental health and law enforcement officials have been successfully trained in Bergen County and that number is expected to continue to grow.

Light-fingered man steals thumb of ancient terracotta warrior during museum party

The Art Newspaper

GABRIELLA ANGELETI19th February 2018 17:59 GMT

Light-fingered man steals thumb of ancient terracotta warrior during museum party

China’s Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre says it will reconsider its loan policy after the “noxious incident”

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor (until 4 March) at The Franklin Institute

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor (until 4 March) at The Franklin Institute The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.

An American man was charged with theft and concealment of an important work of art after stealing the thumb of an ancient Chinese terracotta warrior statue at the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia. Michael Rohana was recorded on security cameras taking a selfie with the statue before breaking off its left thumb during an after-hours “ugly Christmas sweater” party at the museum on 21 December. The 2,000-year-old statue is one of ten works on loan from the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, which told Chinese media that it had never experienced “such a noxious incident”.

The Philadelphia museum noticed the thumb missing on 8 January and got the FBI involved, who arrested Rohana on 13 January in his home in Delaware, where the thumb was being kept in a desk drawer. Rohana, who was released on bail, is also charged with transporting stolen property through state lines.

The statue, on view in an exhibition of terracotta warriors at the museum (until 4 March), belongs to a clay army of around 8,000 soldiers, horses and other figures discovered in Xian in the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuang. It carries an estimated value of $4.5m. The Shaanxi museum says it will reconsider its loan policy after the incident and are now assessing the cost of repairing the damage.

French court annuls conviction for electrician in possession of stolen Picasso works


The Art Newspaper

VINCENT NOCE – 5th March 2018 10:33 GMT

French court annuls conviction for electrician in possession of stolen Picasso works

Another court will have to uncover how the 271 works were stolen and by whom before being received by Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec

Pierre Le Guennec was Picasso's electrician in the 1970s
Pierre Le Guennec was Picasso’s electrician in the 1970s REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The French High Court has annulled the conviction of Pablo Picasso’s former electrician and his wife, who were found guilty of possessing 271 works stolen from the artist’s estate. The decision, handed down on 28 February, means that Pierre Le Guennec and his wife Danielle will face a new trial, to be held in Lyon, at a date yet to be fixed.

In December 2016, the Le Guennecs’ were given a two-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to return the works they initially claimed had been given to them as a gift from the artist and his wife Jacqueline, and then forgotten in a cardboard box in their garage for over 40 years. But the High Court ruled last week that a conviction for “handling stolen goods only stands if the theft itself can be demonstrated”. The circumstances of the crime still remain unclear. If the retired electrician was suspected of being involved in a theft, the crime can no longer be pursued on grounds of prescription. In order to maintain the charges of handling stolen goods, the prosecution would now have to prove that someone else was behind the theft. A primary suspect in this case is Le Guennec’s late cousin, who was Picasso’s chauffeur.

The situation is further complicated by Le Guennec’s admission in November 2016 that he had lied to the court. In his new testimony, he claimed that Jacqueline Picasso had given him the pieces, as thanks for his help in concealing several garbage bags of the artist’s work after his death, in an effort to subvert the painter’s succession. The couple’s defence lawyer, Antoine Vey, intends to develop this version, which had been discarded by the judges for lacking credibility and consistency.

The hoard, worth an estimated €70m, includes 271 unsigned Picasso drawings, sketches, lithographs and very rare cubist collages, dating from 1900 to 1930. Never mentioned in any inventory or book, the works first came to light in 2010 when Pierre Le Guennec contacted the Picasso administration, requesting authentication certificates, which are required for sale. Unconvinced by Le Guennec’s story of a gift, the family, along with experts and acquaintances of the artist, such as the former heads of the Picasso Museums in Paris and Barcelona, said there was no way that Picasso would have given away such a large collection. Instead, the family claimed, the works had been stolen from Picasso’s villa, Notre-Dame de Vie, at Mougins, where the electrician had installed an alarm system. The Picasso family has not yet reacted to the decision by the court of appeal.