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Highland Police Chief Chris Conrad said preparation and precautions were exercised Saturday evening as his department and several others searched for an emotionally-distraught man said he would hurt himself or any first responders who approached him.
The Highland Police Department, along with several other area law enforcement agencies, responded to a call at Saturday, March 30, at 8:30 p.m. referring to a man who had made the threats against himself and first responders.
During that time the police department closed the 400-900 blocks of Sycamore Street and asked residents to stay inside as officers and helicopter support searched for the man. The search took roughly three hours.
Conrad said his department took extreme precautions to keep not only residents and officers safe, but also the person of interest, who police are not identifying at this time.
“When you’re dealing with an emotionally distraught person we want to make sure our people are safe, that the emotionally distraught person is safe and that we don’t escalate it in any manner that would put people in danger,” Conrad said. “It’s a delicate balance.”
No arrest was made later Saturday evening, as officers located the man at his residence and determined he wasn’t a threat. Conrad said his department has and will continue to work with the man to help him get mental health services.
He said some of his officers, who have a rapport with the man, will be checking on his well being for the next several weeks.
Conrad added that proper training, discussion and reflection on incidents concerning people in distress prepare his department to handle these situations.
The Illinois State Police, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, Troy Police Department and the Illinois Law Alarm System Region 8 Response Team all responded to the incident. The Highland Fire Department also assisted.
In a post on its social media page, the Highland Police Department thanked residents for the cooperation as officers worked in the area.