Dearborn police changing approach to mental health, guns

Department working with local social services


DEARBORN, Mich. – Dearborn police are changing the way they handle guns and mental health.

Only Local 4 cameras were there last Friday to see the arsenal that was discovered inside a man's Dearborn home.


Police Chief Ron Haddad said officers were called to the home when the man threatened to kill himself.

"We had a distraught person who was well armed in the neighborhood," Haddad said.


The man had 11 shotguns, two handguns and five assault rifles.

Haddad said the situation ended with no one getting hurt, but it left questions as to what could happen next time.

"Our officers have to move in very swiftly and try to bring not only peace to the situation but insure that the rest of the people in the community and household are not injured," Haddad said.

It's the perfect example of the new, intense way Haddad's department is approaching situations involving people who are at risk for harming themselves and others.

The department is using specialized SWAT equipment when officers have to face armed people who also have mental health issues. The bomb squad, hostage negotiators, medics and even the K-9 unit are involved.

The department is working with area medical and social services to identify people who are showing red flags of turning violent so police can try to get the person help before they reach for a weapon.

"You don't wait until something tragic or violent to call the police, then it's  too late," Haddad said.