News Release, La Plata Police Department
On April 22, 2020, at approximately 6:42 p.m., officers from the La Plata Police Department, Charles County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland State Police – La Plata Barrack responded to the 5900 block of Crain Highway for the report of a possible overdose. While on scene officers observed an individual, unrelated to the original call for service, pouring gasoline over himself at a convenience store fuel pump. Responding quickly, the officers were able to pull the man away from the fuel pump and remove a lighter he was attempting to strike from his grasp. The individual, a 54-year old male, was subsequently transported to a local medical center for an emergency psychological evaluation.
“Clearly these officers were difference makers in the life of a despondent individual, saving his life and possibly the lives of others,” stated La Plata Police Chief Carl Schinner. He went on to add, “We’ve noticed a recent uptick in calls for people in mental health crisis.” Chief Schinner continued, that over the past two-weeks officers have responded to several other individuals in a mental health crisis threatening to injure themselves with a firearm, knife, and by jumping.
Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry commented, “Given the immediate danger of this situation, the officers did an excellent job gaining control of the individual so he could not harm himself or others.” Sheriff Berry continued, “It is fortunate the officers were nearby because clearly the individual was very despondent. Sadly, these types of calls have always been part of police work and now, more than ever, we need to make sure people know what resources are out there. We urge people to call the hotlines to seek the help as needed.”
Chief Schinner added, “The COVID-19 pandemic concerns are weighing heavily on many in our community and nation. As we move through this time together, all of Charles County’s law enforcement is available to help those in need.”
According to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45 percent of adults (53% of women and 37% of men) say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and 19 percent say it has had a “major impact.”
The La Plata Police Department reminds our community members that help is always a phone call away. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If the crisis is an emergency, please immediately call 911.