Navy veteran thanks Overland Park police for saving his life during PTSD attack

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Two Overland Park officers are credited with saving a man's life. He says he suffers from PTSD and knows the situation could have turned out much differently -- perhaps even deadly.

But these officers were armed with a valuable weapon that made their response a success for everyone.

A metro Army veteran asked FOX4 not to identify him, but he wanted to say something to the police officers who responded to his home in September.

"Thank you just, I mean, from the bottom of my heart, really," he said.

The city of Overland Park received an email from the veteran, detailing the Overland Park Police Department's response to his recent fall into the darkest depths of PTSD.

"I was just thinking I wasn't really here. It was really more like, 'I am back on base. I am back on a submarine. I am not here.' It is like I have a duty or something to do," he said.

In a moment of clarity, the Overland Park veteran called the police for help. Officers who responded made sure he was safe and listened to him, even tried to call his psychologist.

When that didn't work: "They ended up calling Johnson County Mental Health on call and just really were respondent in a nice, relaxed, appropriate way," the veteran said.

"It is just refreshing to see that our officers went above and beyond to help this individual out, and I am really proud of them," Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez said.

Donchez said one of his priorities is training officers to properly help people with mental health problems, what he calls a huge crisis in the United States.

"Because as resources dwindle at the state level, it falls on municipalities, and the men and women on the street are the ones really dealing with the mental health crisis going on," he said.

The Overland Park Police Department is only one of a few in the state of Kansas that has completed the One Mind Campaign, a law enforcement mental health training program.

And the department is currently enrolling officers who served in the military into the Veterans CIT Training Program.

"So they understand what these veterans are going through. And getting them trained up, I think that we are going above and beyond a lot of departments nationwide," Donchez said.

For that, this Overland Park veteran is grateful.

"I don`t know what would have happened if they didn't shown up, had they not been there. So I don`t know what would have happened. I don`t know if I would be here, so I really think they might have saved my life, and I appreciate that," he said.

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