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Taser Pr Bc Schizophrenia Society Supports Tasers 1999

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British Columbia
Schizophrenia Society
Provincial Office
A Registered B.C. Non Profit Society
Business NO.#11 880 1141 RR 0001

Honourary Patron

Honourary Directors

Medical Advisory Committee

His Honour

Dr. FA Adrian
I. Hiiton, F,Deck
N.J. Kirk. F.E. Vaughan
Dr. Michael Smith

Dr, Bili MacEwan, FRCPC
Dr. Peter Liddie, FRCPC
Dr. Phillip Long, MD Psychiatrist

The Honourable
Garde B. Gardom, Q.C.
Lieutenant-Governor of
British Columbia

December 21, 1999, Vancouver, B.c.
The B.C. Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) urges all B,C, police forces to develop alternative
methods to lethal force when dealing with psychotic patients following the shooting deaths of two
people with mental illness in Vancouver and Langley.
"This is an incredibly tragic event for everyone involved and, our mental health system is
certainly not meeting the needs of people with serious mental illness when police are required to
be involved and tragedies such as these occur," stated Michelle Colussi, Provincial President of
the BCSS.
People with serious mental illness deserve proper medical and community care to ensure that
their safety and the safety of others is protected. Often when the police are called in to assist
medical/community staff a person with serious mental illness is beyond reasoning with and acting
in an aggressive or violent manner. This puts the police in very difficult and precarious situations
that often require force to subdue and control the ill person. "The use of alternative methods of
control such as the use of the Taser Gun may be one option to lethal force," stated Colussi. The
Victoria Police Department is utilizing this technology currently in an attempt to reduce the need
for lethal force when dealing with psychotic individuals.
"However, as our relatives and friends who are living with these serious illnesses continue to be
reintegrated into society from institutions, the mental health care systems in our communities
require additional staffing support to accommodate their needs and prevent the deterioration that
is evidenced in both recent incidents", Colussi added. Although the provincial government has
committed to a new mental health plan to be implemented over seven years at a cost of$125
million, the funding to implement the plan is not forthcoming.
"Far too many of our relatives are dying at their own hands or the hands of the police because we
do not have the necessary human and financial resources in the mental health system to ensure
that people with serious mental illness receive the proper medical and community care and
treatment they require," stated Colussi.
-30For further information please contact:
Michelle Colussi, BCSS
(250) 724-1675

Gary Glacken, BCSS
(604) 270-7841 ext. 25

201 - 601 i Westminster Highway· Richmond, B.C. V7C 4V4· Tel (604) 270-7841 . Fax (604) 270-9861 . E-mail: