The man was clearly a 10-96, police code for a mentally disturbed person.
Calling himself the mayor of Roanoke, he was causing a stir at a downtown business, where he had shown up for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that existed only in his mind.
When two police officers were called to the scene, the man explained impatiently to them that he had to wait until the planets, stars and space station were all perfectly aligned before snipping the ribbon.
Curious pedestrians stopped to stare. The store manager wanted the loud intruder gone. The police officers had to do something.
They could have arrested him. Instead, they listened patiently to his ramblings – defusing delusion with calm authority - and eventually convinced him to walk with them outside.
It was all part of their training, carried out last week during a role-playing exercise at the Roanoke Police Academy.
Known as crisis intervention training, the week long program teaches Roanoke-area police officers how to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations involving the mentally ill.
Read the rest of the story here.