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Cops learn to handle suspects in mental distress

Breaking down the stigma of mental illness can help cops better understand it, according to one officer

By Dick Lindsay
Berkshire Eagle Staff

DALTON, Mass. — Officer Richard Nicholas Jr. has often dealt with people in mental distress.

The 29-year veteran of the Dalton Police Department and fellow officer Michael Martin once prevented a suicide attempt by spending 15 minutes talking down a man from a bridge over the Housatonic River. Their actions on Nov. 17, 1998, earned them a local commendation and a citation from then-Gov. Paul Cellucci.

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