Arizona DPS Officer Slain

 

A young Navy veteran, who was almost finished with his Arizona Department of Public Safety (state patrol) field training, was killed in the line of duty Wednesday night. He reportedly died at the hands of a mentally ill man who grabbed the training officer’s service weapon. The officers put their own lives at risk, to close with and secure a young, black, male pedestrian, who was reportedly wandering on and off of I-10.

The first officer to respond to the report of a pedestrian on the interstate immediately called for backup. The backup unit was Trooper Tyler Edenhofer, who had just graduated from the academy, and his training officer, Trooper Sean Rodecap. In the struggle, the 20-year-old pedestrian apparently grabbed Trooper Rodecap’s weapon, wounding the initial responding officer and fatally shooting Trooper Edenhofer.

“Today is evidence of the violent nature of policing in our nation,” [Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank] Milstead told reporters Thursday afternoon. “It’s also evidence that just because somebody is unarmed doesn’t mean they won’t become armed and harm somebody.”

The gun belonged to Rodecap, who had been training Edenhofer and was wearing a leather, nonretention holster with a snap top affixed to his belt — not a typical duty belt that includes a stronger internal locking feature. He was also dressed casually in a T-shirt and jeans because Edenhofer was in the final days of training when instructors assume more of a bystander role and give more control to the trooper in training, DPS said.

No officers fired their weapons during the fight, officials said.

Officers moved forward, into danger, to stop a disturbed young man from endangering himself and others. They did not shelter and draw their weapons. They did not shoot. The struggle took several minutes. Yet, the suspect had no previous criminal record.

The man’s mother told authorities she thought her son was in the backyard of their home and had last seen him on a trampoline around 9:30 p.m., Milstead said.

Milstead said, “He has mental health history. He apparently was on medication for anxiety and depression.”

The Arizona Republic stories name the fallen officer’s mother and sister, while also reporting he was planning to marry. So, at least three women’s lives have been tragically altered by madness. The fallen officer died trying to get control of a man who was not in control of himself.

As the DPS and Arizona, mourn and honor this young hero, the appropriate review will sort through actions and procedures. There is no story here of a suspect buying a gun. The state legislature, and possibly Congress, should look at this case as another instance of our mental health system failing.

There are 13 comments.

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  1. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Clifford A. Brown: The state legislature, and possibly Congress, should look at this case as another instance of our mental health system failing.

    Please. Please. Please. 

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Can’t say more than what Kate already said.

    • #2
  3. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    I wonder if the race of the man restrained them from using their weapons?

    • #3
  4. NHPat Inactive
    NHPat
    @NHPat

    How exactly did the mental health system fail. That is an honest question not trolling aggression. The man was on medication so he clearly was being seen and his problem was being addressed. Is this really a system failure, or is it a matter of putting far too much faith in mental health professionals to “cure” what ails us?

    • #4
  5. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Although the article indicates the 20 year-old was being treated for anxiety, and depression there is no way of knowing if the medication was effective, or if he was actually taking his meds. Anxiety, and depression are subjective terms, and his mental health issues may have been more serious. Even so there are some individuals that medication does not help, and it’s not unusual to change medications during the course of treatment for mental health issues.

    Arizona DPS will probably have to think about mandating a better retention holster for a plainclothes FTO (Field Training Officer). It is not unusual to have an FTO in plainclothes at the end training. This allows the trainee to be seen as the officer in charge by the public on a call, and allows the trainee to prepare for the day when he/she will work their own car.

    Mental health has been ignored, and the evidence of either willful ignorance, or the I’m okay, and your okay society has produced city streets filled with campers, needles, and the mentally ill. My assessment is pretty grim, but I’ve dealt with those on the verge, or in a full blown violent mental health crisis. You never know what you will get on those calls, but I’m out of it now.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Anxiety and depression are subjective terms…

    That is for certain. I once had an “anxiety” reaction to a medication (an antibiotic). I was in my cubical at work and found some very unfamiliar thoughts coursing through my head. At the time, we would have used the term “Going Postal.” I had just started three medications to get rid of a sinus infection and treat allergies, and I had seen something on one of the labels. I went to my boss and told him I was having a bad reaction to the medication and got out of there, going home. I read the labels again, and how the label put it in the side effects was, “May cause anxiety.” If that’s anxiety, I’ll have a plate of hash, thanks.

    • #6
  7. Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles
    @Chuckles

    Proof we need to confiscate all guns. How much better the world would be if we did that. Those policemen should have just had sticks. Nothing like this ever happens in England. Or Australia.

    • #7
  8. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    Chuckles (View Comment):
    Quote

    Which is why they are banning knives.

    • #8
  9. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    Which President or Congress allowed the mental institutions to be emptied and closed? I know of two facilities close to where I live that are not operating at full capacity. ‘Mainstreaming’ is the new watchword these days. Many don’t want to admit this, but there are many people unsuitable for mainstreaming. Just look at California, Seattle, and many other cities dealing with homeless people—many of those NEED to be in facilities that offer a controlled environment, medication, shelter, and caring staff. Another issue not addressed—how many of these people have diseases, in addition to their mental problems?

    • #9
  10. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    carcat74 (View Comment):
    Which President or Congress allowed the mental institutions to be emptied and closed?

    It was pretty much a consensus of the “elites” that psychosis was just an example of being “different” like Randle McMurphy. 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Flew_Over_the_Cuckoo%27s_Nest_(film)

    It was the 60s and early 70s and public opinion changed. Ronald Reagan was Governor of California when the common wisdom switched and the mental hospitals were emptied. The legislature passed a nonsense bill that pledged “Community Health Centers, that never happened.

    The drive to open those hospitals came from Libertarians particularly, but both major parties participated.

    • #10
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Mike-K (View Comment):

    carcat74 (View Comment):
    Which President or Congress allowed the mental institutions to be emptied and closed?

    It was pretty much a consensus of the “elites” that psychosis was just an example of being “different” like Randle McMurphy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Flew_Over_the_Cuckoo%27s_Nest_(film)

    It was the 60s and early 70s and public opinion changed. Ronald Reagan was Governor of California when the common wisdom switched and the mental hospitals were emptied. The legislature passed a nonsense bill that pledged “Community Health Centers, that never happened.

    The drive to open those hospitals came from Libertarians particularly, but both major parties participated.

    The key here is the hospitals were emptied, letting politicians spend money on other constituents, while the community centers were never funded, because no one wanted them in their neighborhood. So, now people live and defecate on the streets, instead of living in supervised group homes.

    • #11
  12. Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles
    @Chuckles

    Heinlein wrote a short story, “Coventry”.

    The idea may have some promise.

     

    • #12
  13. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Mike-K (View Comment):

    carcat74 (View Comment):
    Which President or Congress allowed the mental institutions to be emptied and closed?

    It was pretty much a consensus of the “elites” that psychosis was just an example of being “different” like Randle McMurphy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Flew_Over_the_Cuckoo%27s_Nest_(film)

    It was the 60s and early 70s and public opinion changed. Ronald Reagan was Governor of California when the common wisdom switched and the mental hospitals were emptied. The legislature passed a nonsense bill that pledged “Community Health Centers, that never happened.

    The drive to open those hospitals came from Libertarians particularly, but both major parties participated.

    The key here is the hospitals were emptied, letting politicians spend money on other constituents, while the community centers were never funded, because no one wanted them in their neighborhood. So, now people live and defecate on the streets, instead of living in supervised group homes.

    Exactly this. There were many different groups that advocated for the closing of state facilities for the non-criminally insane, to include the ACLU, and mental health advocacy groups. I’m familiar with the Dammasch State Hospital featured in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. It was closed in 1995. The Oregon State Hospital for the criminally insane is still open.

    I’m not sure why these groups thought that they were helping someone that could not function out on the street. There were times that I found someone wrapped in a sleeping bag when the East Wind was blowing out of the Columbia Gorge, and the temp with wind chill was 10 to 17 below zero. Sometimes I could convince them to let me take them to the nearest warming shelter, sometimes I couldn’t.

    Police officers had a name for the effect on mentally ill transients of the hypothermic weather of the Pacific Northwest, we called it Winter Kill.

    • #13

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