High-tech tool helps police understand mental health issues

SPOKANE - Local police officers are learning how to deal with mentally ill suspects with a new machine is giving them a three-dimensional look into their mind.

Jack Brucick with the Department of Corrections experiences a virtual hallucination through a machine called Mindstorm, a device that helps people understand what if might look, smell and sound like to experience symptoms of schizophrenia while at home.

Goggles give a three-dimensional image of what a person might be seeing. It also give smells and has ear phones to hear voices a person might be hearing.

?I could feel myself getting into the role of that person ? scary stuff,? Brucick said.

Mindstorm was provided by Jansenn, a pharmaceutical company that makes drugs for the treatment of mental illness.

The high tech tool is offered as part of crisis intervention training taken by police officers, sheriff's deputies and corrections officers to learn how to deal with people with mental illness.

?When we have someone afflicted with mental illness there are no outward signs. And the more we know the better able we are to discern if this is criminal activity or someone afflicted with mental illness,? Spokane Police Lieutenant Judy Carl said.

?When I first started years ago we had mental health issues but nothing like we're seeing now, especially with drug induced psychosis with methamphetamine,? Jack Brucick said.