I have said it many times before.
Police officers are not equipped to deal with cases of stalking and so on, at all. They do not have the knowledge to assess them (and are sadly too often led by their personal bias toward the victims).
It happened in the cases of Shana Grice, Molly McLaren and Bijan Ebrahimi in the UK.
And it happened in the case of Lauren McCluskey in the US as now transpires.
- Among others, ThinkProgress reported on it: https://thinkprogress.org/mccluskey-university-of-utah-warned-police-about-ex-boyfriend-6-times-bc08aed0fad5/.
- CNN also has the story: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/25/us/utah-student-killed-911-lauren-mccluskey/index.html
It has happened in many other situations.
Having specialized teams that are not part of the police but of new to be set up organizations and that respond instantly would also often benefit many people who could normally go on to murder someone because they would get the intervention and treatment they need IN TIME.
They too are criminalized and unnecessarily victimized if they are in ill mental health. Instead of saying that they believe they need help but being ignored by police or simply being ignored by police – period – or even being egged on by police after concerns are reported, they would get the help that just might stop them from committing murders, murders like those of Shana Grice, Molly McLaren, Bijan Ebrahimi and Lauren McCluskey.
Police officers often see themselves as superior experts in just about anything but in reality, their level of knowledge is often no different from that of the average homeless meth addict or industrious takeaway owner.
On the other hand, police officers now also waste a lot of time chasing up silly “he said she said” disputes and playing thought police. Silly “he said she said” quarrels and normal breakup situations could quickly be weeded out as representing little danger if there were dedicated teams of specialists to assess these situations.
The need for specialized IT staff on these teams is also made clear by the McCluskey case; see the screen shot below from the case review. (This looks like sadistic stalking to me, by the way. The taunting nature of it, the mix of openly seeming supportive with regard to what he was actually doing too, albeit in the dark, except that sadistic stalking usually occurs on much longer time scales, as far as I know, but it is a complex phenomenon that is almost impossible to escape from if it happens to you.)
The way the situation currently is, contacting police is the worst you can do if you are being stalked and harassed. Why? Because it will enrage your stalker and as police usually do nothing or next to nothing, it will greatly amplify the stalker’s power. At best, it makes no difference.
In addition to this proposed overhaul of police, we also need changes in the medical profession. Police officers and medical professionals are currently among the biggest propagators of mental health stigmas, stopping people who need it from getting treatment.
There appears to be a huge gap between the knowledge about physical health (with mostly physical effects) and the knowledge about brain-related or “mental” health. The fact that there is even a stigma on pain – as pain is not visible and often not directly measurable – indicates that there is a tendency to place stigmas on any health issues that are not visible or hard to show in a visual form. (Even having a brain scan that shows differences can help a lot.) People are being blamed for brain-related health conditions as it is often assumed that all humans have total control over them. The mere fact that personalities can change after a stroke or other type of brain injury already shows that we don’t.
(Hence, I also believe that it is wrong to criminalize people with brain-related health conditions, which is not the same as declaring them “insane”. We need different approaches to mental health and much better care. Genuine professional care. Support.)
Years ago, I screamed or cried at police over the phone “What the hell does this guy want from me? Ask him what he wants from me so that I can give him an answer so that he can move on and leave me in peace.” Police thought it was hilarious, but frowned at me. Delusional old cow.