Excited Delirium a Subject in Police Training Session

Police officers in Aransas Pass spent the day Thursday learning how to handle real life scenarios involving what is called "excited delirium."

You might remember it was back in May when a homeless man's face was badly bitten by a naked man in Florida. The attacker in that incident was dubbed the "Miami Zombie."

It was first thought that the man was on bath salts, but according to police, it turns out he was most likely experiencing excited delirium, a state of mind that is still brought on by drugs, but can cause the person to be violent and unpredictable.

It was the kind of scenario that police learned to deal with during Thursday's training session at the Aransas Pass Civic Center, and Kiii News Reporter Bill Churchwell was their guinea pig.

Churchwell played the role of an out of control criminal. It took four officers to take him down and put him in cuffs.

The session was led by Jerry Staton, a retired police officer who spent 25 years on the Austin police force. Staton now owns and operates a training and consultant business. He said a person suffering from excited delirium is in a state of high agitation, often brought on by long-term drug abuse.

Staton said that, for officers, it is a dangerous call to respond to, because that person can have superhuman strength. That is why he is teaching them the tools and tactics to use to safely take the criminal in custody.

"I still hear criticism of using a Taser," Staton said. "The true experts say the key is reducing injury to these people. The Taser allows them to do that, provided you have the proper training and establish physical control."

It was an eight-hour class for officers from Sinton, Ingleside and Aransas Pass, and it also included other first responders like paramedics.

Staton said that sometimes people assume Tasers lead to the sudden death of a person in custody. However, often it's because the person is in this state of excited delirium.


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