Medford Police uses 'less lethal' force on armed woman in mental health crisis

The agency said a 33-year-old woman was armed with a steak knife and appeared to be suicidal.

Posted: Nov 15, 2019 3:45 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Officers used "less lethal" force to subdue a woman that was armed with a knife and threatening suicide on Thursday morning, according to the Medford Police Department (MPD).

The officers responded to a call from the Medford Center area shortly after 9 a.m., hearing that a woman was suicidal and armed with a knife. Medford Police said that the caller knew the 33-year-old woman in question.

The woman was located behind Safeway, holding a steak knife to her throat, MPD said. She ran east toward Crater Lake Avenue when officers came near, until another officer blocked her path with his patrol vehicle. She then turned and ran west before stopping against a concrete wall.

MPD said that all of the officers at the scene were trained in crisis intervention, and one had crisis negotiation training. While trying to open a dialogue with the woman, the officers called in Jackson County Mental Health and an ambulance.

"The suicidal female had significant swings in behavior and at times became enraged and screamed unintelligibly, while at times still holding the knife to her throat," the agency said.

Forty minutes passed, with MPD saying that her "behavior was escalating," and that officers feared for her safety.

"She was wearing thick clothing which could inhibit the effectiveness of a taser," Medford Police said.

One of the officers fired a 40mm foam baton round, while another used a taser. The combined tactics made the woman drop her knife, allowing officers to take her into custody.

MPD said that the woman was taken to Asante Rogue Regional for treatment of both her mental health crisis and minor injuries from the arrest. No criminal charges have been filed against her, and Medford Police did not release her name.

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