Upon opening my front door to let the dog out one early, chilly, windy April morning, I was shocked to discover a fellow sitting on the floor of my front porch. He didn’t stir, so I cracked the door to the porch open and asked if he was okay and what he was doing there. The young man did his best to answer my many questions, including providing a family member’s phone number for me to call.
Unable to reach anyone at that number, I left a voicemail, then asked the fellow how he would feel about my calling 911 to see about getting him some assistance. We agreed that I would request crisis team members, not armed officers.
The 911 operator said it might be too early for the Behavioral Crisis Response (BCR) staff to be dispatched, but that she would try. I passed along the young man’s no police request. While we waited for help, I shared blankets, ski mitts, coffee, and cookies as the young man remained seated to keep out of the wind. He also used an area of the backyard I had shown him if he needed to relieve himself. (I did not know how long he had been on my porch, and the 911 dispatcher had advised against extending bathroom privileges.)
Within 30 minutes two calm, purposeful female BCR members arrived at the front gate, where I met them and shared what I knew.
After explaining to me that the young man would be advised to comply with the BCR’s recommended steps, but could not be taken by force or made to do anything against his will, one team member then joined her colleague to check on him. I kept my distance until I was summoned to retrieve my new rescue dog off the fellow’s lap; the two had bonded immediately, but the dog became a distraction after the BCR staffers arrived.
Within 15 minutes, the young man stood up, unwrapped himself from the blankets, removed the ski mitts, and proceeded toward the front gate with the BCR members. I wished him well and thanked the duo for their assistance.
When relaying the incident to friends, I fairly raved about the BCR pair’s seamless execution of their protocol, their calm and respectful manner with the young man, and their updating me without compromising the young man’s privacy rights.
I give five out of five stars to the BCR staffers dispatched to help with this matter and am relieved that the City of Minneapolis has added this peaceful, de-escalating unit. May Minneapolis’ Behavioral Crisis Response team thrive and create positive change in these challenging times.