WESTFIELD, Pa. (WETM) – Instead of making an arrest, the Westfield Borough Police Chief decided to sit down and talk with a veteran with nowhere to go.
Chief Dale Niles was called to a mental health crisis two days ago at the Colonial Restaurant.
“[The owner had] asked him multiple times to leave and he wouldn’t leave,” said Niles. “So finally she told him she’d call the police and have him removed. At that point, he did leave. I went off and I made contact with her and she didn’t want him arrested or anything. Throughout that day, I had made contact with him multiple times trying to urge him to move along.”
The day after, he was called to a few more disturbances by the same man. That’s when they sat down and spoke and Niles found out the man is a veteran.
“I see the gentleman, Jimmy, that’s his name,” said Niles. “So I go over and sit down with him and chat with him at the local sub shop. He’s a veteran so he talked about his experience with the VA and if I was down on my luck I’d want someone helping me out. I wouldn’t want just want someone throwing the book at me. It’s important to treat people the way I would want to be treated if I were in their shoes.”
Niles worked together with the owner of The Colonial Restaurant and Hotel, Amanda Hughes. She gave Jimmy a bed to stay while Niles contacted Jimmy’s place of residence.
Hughes sheds light on the importance of taking care of one another in time of need.
Mental illness is a very real issue and it’s often associated with so many bad things. Truthfully, these things can happen to anyone of us at any time and we all need to work together as a society and break the stigma against mental health issues. Jimmy’s situation could have gone a whole different direction. Had the situation happened elsewhere he could have ended up getting hurt or thrown into the legal system, which would not have been in his best interest. Some divine intervention must have placed Jimmy in mine and Chief Niles’ path that day and I was compelled to make sure he got the help he needed. If it was one of my loved ones, alone and in a major crisis somewhere I would hope there would be some compassionate folks around to help them out.Amanda Hughes, owner of The Colonial Restaurant and Hotel
Since then, Jimmy was re-admitted to a recovery center and is receiving treatment.