The eyes of our country were on us last Thursday when the call came out that a man, later identified as Brad Bartelt, reportedly drove on A-State's campus through a barricade, armed with a shotgun, a propane tank and gasoline.
Our heroes in blue wasted no time.
Law enforcement agencies from across Region 8 responded in a way that made people across America stand up and take notice.
Fast, smart, showing great urgency and great restraint at the same time.
Thank you to the University Police Department, Jonesboro Police Department, the Craighead County Sheriff's Department, Arkansas State Police and the countless other agencies who were there to keep the A-State community safe. Their willingness to work together and their training insured this event had the best possible outcome.
Now the eyes of our country need to focus on another issue raised by last week's event: mental illness. The day before this happened, police were called to Bartelt's house where someone told them that Barttlet "sought medical attention and was doing better."
Remember, once police respond and are told everything is okay, they've done what they can do.
Bartelt is undergoing psychiatric evaluation, and we will report on his results when they are available, but his actions last Thursday should make us ask ourselves some honest questions.
What are we doing to help those who suffer from mental illness in Region 8?
It's a subject most don't want to talk about and it's time for that to change. If you know someone who is suffering and needs help, don't wait. Step in and help them.
A cry for help requires two parties: one to reach out and someone to listen and take action.
If you know someone who needs help with mental health issues, contact your local mental health counselling service, and see if there is a way to help before it's too late. It could help a person who desperately needs it before they hurt themselves or somebody else.
Like I said, taking this kind of action isn't easy, but it's so important and it will help make this A Better Region 8.
- Chris Conroy, KAIT VP & General Manager
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