TODAY'S QUESTION: Should SWAT team officers undergo psychiatric evaluations?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | 10:36 a.m. CDT

In a formal complaint to the Citizens Police Review Board, Ed Rosenthal of Piedmont, Calif., filed an appeal to the decision to exonerate officers involved in February’s SWAT raid on a Columbia home. According to this Missourian article, Rosenthal, a marijuana legislation reform activist working with Green Aid, filed the appeal on June 10 after his initial complaint was rejected.

The raid ended with the discovery of only a small amount of marijuana; however, the homeowner’s two dogs were shot, and one was killed. After an investigation into the incident, the officers involved were all exonerated.


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A June 10 post on Rosenthal’s blog asks readers to file a written appeal to Police Chief Ken Burton. The post includes a sample letter nearly identical to the one Rosenthal himself mailed.

Rosenthal indicates in his appeal that all officers involved in February’s raid should be examined by a psychiatrist. He writes that a psychiatrist should evaluate whether the officers should be allowed to carry weapons. Rosenthal concludes by saying the officers involved are “a danger to society.”

According to an article in the Columbia Tribune, Rosenthal said Green Aid is willing to fund independent psychiatrists to conduct the evaluations at the Police Department’s request.

Should SWAT team officers undergo psychiatric evaluations?

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Gregg Bush June 23, 2010 | 10:05 a.m.

Not only should SWAT members have psychiatric evaluations, they should also submit to regular and random drug tests. These are civic officials that project lethal force, seize legal personal property, and seize illegal items in the service of the state. These are powers and abilities that I readily delegate only to mentally and physically fit public servants.

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Lola McCarty June 25, 2010 | 10:36 a.m.

I'd be curious to know what the psychiatric evaluation would show for someone who is willing to enter into situations that most of the rest of us would run away from. Don't you think most officers would test differently than the "regular" public? I know that my general makeup would have to be different to allow me to do what they do.

(Report Comment)
carla thomas June 29, 2010 | 9:34 p.m.

most definetly! any psychiatrist or psychologist will tell you that anyone who shoots,or maims or hurts an animal is unbalanced and or has psycopathic tendencies.same goes for them hurting people or terroizing people without showing compassion or any regards to whom they are far there have been two if not more incidents of swat teams shooting animals and or children.that really concerns me.people who shoot dogs and or animals and or children don,t belong on the streets or in society.

(Report Comment)
carla thomas June 29, 2010 | 9:41 p.m.

also,i think anyone who applies to become a law enforcement officer or swat officer,it should be a part of the physical,most employer insurance companies will not insure anyone who is a psychiatric risk.some health insurance companies now are asking that people who apply for health insurance have a psychiatric evaluation as a part of the physical.that should go for anyone that wants to become a police officer and or swat officer,and or highway patrol.if a person cannot pass a psychiatric evaluation does not belong in law enforcement period!!!!!

(Report Comment)
Nigel Duff August 5, 2010 | 10:16 p.m.

From the Columbia PD website: They are examined by a psychologist prior to employment.

Candidates must:
Be at least 21 years of age by hire date
Have 60 hours college course work from an accredited institution
Possess/maintain valid driver's license/excellent driving record
No serious criminal record
Excellent work history and attendance record
Officers must reside in within a 30 mile straight line radius of the city of Columbia and be eligible to work in the United States
Step one:
Contact the City of Columbia Human Resources Department and obtain an application. Fill it out and return it to them. Applicants must attach a one page hand printed statement which describes how their background and experience specifically relates to and prepares them for a career in law enforcement.
A certified college transcript verifying successful completion of at least 60 hours of college credit must be submitted.

Eligible candidates must:
Pass a written examination
Pass pre-employment physical agility test
Pass a Computer Voice Stress Analyzer test
Pass a medical physical
Successfully complete police academy training
Successfully complete field training program.


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