The Miami-Dade Police Department is proposing a new unit dedicated to mental health calls, and officers believe it could increase safety and some say even save lives.
Earlier this week, law enforcement shot and killed Matthew Hyde after he set fire to a Hollywood home following an hours-long standoff.
“That was all he did was help people," said Kaylor Green, Hyde's girlfriend. "That was all he did."
Hyde was a veteran and suffered from PTSD in addition to having a brain injury. Green said he struggled with his mental health and was never able to get the help he needed.
Now, some wonder if a unit like this could have saved him.
On Wednesday, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a man who was making threats to kill multiple people. When detectives arrived, they found the 36-year-old in the Hollywood home making threats against law enforcement on social media.
BSO says three negotiators with licensed mental health training were at the scene and tried to de-escalate the situation with non-lethal methods.
Negotiators worked for more than 16 hours, but Hyde refused to cooperate and became more combative, deputies said. He threw Molotov cocktails toward SWAT agents and eventually set the house on fire.
The new program proposed by Miami-Dade Police would have a team that would receive special training and work closely with behavioral health professionals to de-escalate situations and get people the care they need.
In addition to having mental health training, officers there would be trained and licensed behavioral health professionals in the 911 call center, so that mental health aid would start from the moment someone picks up the phone.
There is no way of telling what impact the unit would have had in this case, but Green said this unit could have saved her boyfriend.
“This is a very good solution," she said. "This would have helped so much."
The mental health unit still needs approval from the county. In the meantime, the shooting remains under investigation.