Crisis Intervention Team praised for peaceful arrest of machete wielding man

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Monday night, 30-year-old Tevin Garrett stood in a Zaxby’s parking lot holding a machete on Hacks Cross Road, surrounded by Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Witnesses said he yelled, “This is the end. Shoot me.”

“Twenty years ago, 25 years ago, even 15 years ago. Things would have been done differently,” said retired Shelby County Sheriff’s Office captain Bennie Cobb.

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But, rather than shooting Garrett, deputies used other tactics to take him into custody alive.

”They have pepper spray, tasers, batons they can use to restrain a person,” said Cobb.

Cobb once led the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). He credits that program for the positive outcome Monday.

”The CIT officers deal specifically with the mentally ill or those suffering some kind of mental illness,” said Cobb.

PHOTOS: Man with machete in standoff with SCSO deputies

Records said, during a previous incident, Garrett told officers he had been diagnosed with paranoid and psychotic schizophrenia. In this case, the specialized training helped calm Monday night’s situation without any major injuries or loss of life.

”There’s not nearly enough. So, the officers, the regular street officers, if they know it is a possibility it is a mental health situation, they will hold that scene for 30, 40, 50 minutes until officers can get there and deescalate the situation,” said Cobb.

CIT training is optional for officers.

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