Madison Police, Regional Response Team Activated Following Incident On Sandlewood Drive

Despondent male with a firearm agrees to leave after talking with police; Taken for evaluation; Neighbors evacuated during incident.


Madison police and the regional response team have been activated following an incident at 96 Sandlewood Drive in Madison.

Madison police received a report around 6:15 p.m. from a family member that a male who lives at 96 Sandlewood was despondent, possibly suicidal and possibly armed.

"We were told no one else was in the house," said Madison Police Spokesman Joe Race. "Our regular patrol arrived on the scene and attempted to make contact unsuccessfully. After that our regional response team was activated."

The regional response team is made up of police officers from Madison, Guilford, and Branford police departments who work as one unit.

After being contacted by police, the despondent male "walked out of the door willingly and voluntarily. No one sustained any injuries," Race said. "He is being taken for evaluation."

Race said, in addition to the patrol officer, two Madison police detectives, six Madison police officers who are part of the response team, and additional members of the response team from Guilford and Branford responded, in addition to the Madison Police Department's K-9 unit, Paco. Madison Police Chief Jack Drumm was among officers responding.

Drumm confirmed that the despondent male had a firearm.

Drumm said police officers initially tried to make contact with the man, but were not able to, around 7 p.m. When Drumm arrived on the scene, he started calling. "He wouldn't pick up the phone and wouldn't pick up the phone. We kept calling and he wouldn't pick up the phone." Finally, when Drumm called again from the scene around 8:35 p.m., the man picked up the phone.

"I told him we were concerned and we wanted him to come out," Drumm said. "We're just relieved it ended well."

Drumm said neighbors in the immediate area were evacuated to about a block away, to the intersection of Sandlewood Drive with Old Farms Road while he was trying to make contact with the man. "They are all back in their homes at this time," he said after the incident was resolved.

Drumm said he appreciated the work of the regional response team, the Madison police officers, the Guilford police officers, the Branford police officers, along with the cooperation of the neighbors, and the work of the Madison Ambulance Association.

LCSW mom July 26, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Completely agree. As a mental health professional, photos and addresses in a public forum regarding a psychiatric issue could dissuade others from getting help if they know that their private information may be used. General information is news and appropriate to inform the public of an event that may have affected them, specifics can be dangerous for others experiencing psychiatric emergencies and compassion should be used.
AA July 26, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Reading these comments reminds me of a common political debate. The replies / reactions to contributor comments do not address the issues brought up by the initial commenter. Neither “Mom of 2 Teens” nor “Disappointed” suggested in their comments that this situation might not constitute news. However, both suggested that it was unnecessary to specify the exact address, an opinion I support wholeheartedly. All the more as the situation was already under control. Channel 3 Eyewitness News, on their web-site, reported the news, albeit fittingly without house number. Omitting the precise address does not constitute filtering the news, but providing some privacy (i.e. shelter) to this family during an obviously difficult period. That’s just common sense! I salute Liz Neighbors comments and fully support the idea she puts forth. Regrettably, however, (and I write from personal experience), stigma is still very much attached to emotional (mental) issues. Those who deal with the issues (in this instance, the police department, Regional Response Teams, the media (Patch)) need to apply a minimum of psychology and discretion in dealing with such matters. Publishing the precise house number was unnecessary (and thus the attached photographs as well.)
Malinda Moore July 26, 2012 at 10:22 PM
It is not about what is legal or not to report, it is about moral and ethical reporting. Just because they can, doesn't mean they always should report specifics. There should be serious consideration before exact addresses and photos are published in cases of rape, suicide, medical, psychiatric and domestic violence situations. These victims are already traumatized and in emotional distress. The media doesn't need to make their bad situation worse just because they decided to acknowledge their dilemma and seek help. Future medical patients and victims of crime won't seek help in the future due to the added embarrassment of public gossip. Their overall welfare should out weight the general publics entertainment and curiosity.
Interested July 27, 2012 at 04:00 AM
I have changed my name from Disappointed to Digusted You don't like to be told you should now better, but you should. Your comment regarding your reporting "options" ommitted the best option of all. You said that if you didn't give the house number, suspicion would fall on all men on that street. If you said the south end of town, suspicion would fall on those men. You concluded that the only other option was not to report the story and pretend we don't have these problems in Madison. Try this; just say it happened in Madison. Then you'd be "an equal opportunity suspicion caster." Have you considered the consequences that may result from your actions? Will this man be able to return to Madison, let alone his house because he will feel stigmatised by your story? What if he has to get a new job or just a job? His behavior is now a matter of public record. Do you really think that all people are so kind and understanding that they won't have reservations about associating with this man? I suggest you commit the following saying to memory. "Just because you have the right to do something, it doesn't mean it's the right thing to do"
Interested July 27, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Disgusted To Lou Lang: What makes this differnt from other news where they print addresses is that compassion was called for in this case. By the way to whom were you referring when you said, " You just have to take it in stride." Who is you? the reader, or the man who was threatening suicide? How many of your friends or family have attempted suicide? Did you take it in stride and move on? If you were referring to the man who was contemplating suicide perhaps you should share your wisdom and send him a card telling him to "take it in stride and move on." He'll be grateful for such sage advice. So the police didn't close off the scene and keep the press out. Gee I thought only the Pope was infallible- ever hear the term " error in judgement." While I have your attention, I suggest you brush up on your verb tenses, and reading comprehension in general. You said what if the person "used to live there." Check out paragraph 2. It says lives- that is present tense and means he was currently living there." I offer you the same advice I gave to Pem. Memorize this, "Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it's the right thing to do." And for anyone who thinks that Mr. 96 Sandlewood remains anonymous, think again. Many people now know who his.
Beth Crowley July 27, 2012 at 10:26 AM
Just a point of clarification, the resident of the home did not seek help a concerned family member called the police and it is obvious from the story no one knew exactly what was going on or how dangerous the situation was. Would folks have been as concerned for the man's privacy if it had ended with a shoot out with the police? I hope this man will get the help he needs and I am sorry his story became public but the way the incident unfolded did raise it to the level of news and Pem did a good job reporting the facts accurately and without the sensationalism I've seen from other media.
Lou Lange July 27, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Amen for your great comnent, Beth. Maybe "Disgusted" and others who are so concerned about privacy will read her comment and take pause. Maybe "Disgusted" will take notice on the spelling of my name as well.
AA July 27, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Mrs. Crowley, the article was published after the situation was under control. Henceforth, the “if it had ended in a shootout” is not applicable. Moreover, the way I read the comments, the concern with the article was not whether this situation was indeed news(worthy), but that pinpointing the address (and attaching photographs) was unnecessary, if not possibly detrimental to the individual’s road to recovery. In my opinion, stating that the unfortunate event took place on Sandlewood Drive would have sufficed in informing the public. As to Mr. Lange’s comments, I fail to read any compassion in most of his comments and, indeed, find some of his wording flippant and lacking a true understanding on how to address situations involving mental health issues. However, I’m hesitant to challenge Mr. Lange, as he clearly doesn’t grasp that certain topics require a different level of sensitivity and discretion.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 03:03 PM
AA, thank you for your comments and for the thoughtful email you sent. I am discussing the points you and others made with my supervisor. At this point he thinks including the street number was appropriate. I plan to continue monitoring the comments on this thread and plan to discuss it with some of my other colleagues. I am taking the comments posted here seriously and understand the responsibility I have to members of the community, including the family involved in this incident. Having said that, let's not any of us go on the attack against any of the others who have posted. There is no quicker way for a conversation to deteriorate. I've also discussed this via email with Lou and I can assure you his comments were made in good faith just as your comments were. This incident was covered in a variety of different ways by several different news outlets. All of them included the street number. Some included additional identifying information. As the editor of one of your hometown papers (along with The Source and Shoreline Times), and as a resident of this town, I appreciate the level of concern that people have about this.
Malinda Moore July 27, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Lou doesn't appear to a have a clue. Hey, that kind of rhymes. He's all talk now, that is, until he's on the receiving end regarding a skeleton in his not so perfect closest one day. Then he'll likely cry foul. Nosey neighbors aren't good neighbors in situations like this.
Lou Lange July 27, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Malinda - I have known the family that lives in that house for more than 40 years. I check on them every so often (although it has been less since I no longer live in the immediate area). What you assume is nosey (and we know what assuming does) I and others consider caring.
Malinda Moore July 28, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Dissipointed has it right. Lou. They say compassion is contagious. I can't quite figure out your point. If, like you say, you had been the guys neighbor and cared enough to check up on him, that's a commendable thing. We need more of that, neighbors looking after and helping out neighbors. That's how this country was, once upon a time, when everyone volunteered at each barn raising event. So, with that said, why would you advocate publicizing the poor guys unfortunate and apparent physiological meltdown to the whole world through Internet news? I'd think if you were sincere, you would advocate the opposite. The general public doesn't need to know what didn't happen.The patients best chance of recovery is privacy while obtaining professional help so he can rebound back into main stream society with self esteem and respect intact. I hate to say it, but this whole news thing sure smells like the local police just looking for an excuse to justify all the time & tax payer money being dumped into their new latest and greatest Regional Response Team Program that hasn't really been utilized much. Not saying it's a bad thing or that it's not okay to use some calls for practice, but the handling and publicizing of this case at the patients expense was inappropriate. If you can't grasp any of this by now, you never will.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 02:55 AM
The issue at hand is whether identifying information should have been used, whether that was the street number, or the man's name, as one news organizations did. To suggest that this was used for "practice?" To suggest that the general public shouldn't have information about law enforcement actions in town? The more you write, the less you make sense. In terms of volunteering, we still have plenty of that in Madison, neighbor looking out for neighborhood, and the police department does its share as well, and then some. If you spent more time reading about Madison and less time writing indignant posts, you'd know that.
Beth Crowley July 28, 2012 at 01:06 PM
AA Well my main point was that in the heat of this debate some posters were implying the man had reached out privately for help and the result was the police and news media had turned it into a spectacle and an opportunity to spread vicious gossip which wasn't the case. Sorry but as a librarian I don't like it when people are misinformed. As to my point about the "shoot out" it is relevant because folks here are asking Pem and other journalists to make ethical decisions about which facts to censor from news stories. Because this ended peacefully are we more likely to want the man's privacy protected? I think sensitivity should be part of a journalist's decision and I am glad Patch is now discussing this issue internally. But the bottom line here is the address was a fact listed in a legitimate news story to inform not embarrass and if the media goes too far in selectively reporting the news then we can run into serious censorship issues which again as a librarian concerns me. Finally as far as Mr. Lance's comments, I reread them and found them reasonably and respectfully stated which is more than can be said for other's comments on this list. Just because someone holds a different opinion doesn't mean they should be attacked personally - thanks for the reminder Pem! I think some great points and food for thought have been raised here so let's keep it positive and productive for this issue or others in the future.
Beth Crowley July 28, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Sorry - Mr. Lange - dang autocorrect!
Anita Bath July 28, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Pem, If you had a family member or friend who this was happening to, would you publish their address?
Lou Lange July 28, 2012 at 04:05 PM
We all can "what if" this situation until we are blue in the face. The fact is that the address was published. The family had a more immediate concern - ensuring someone's safety. Let's give this a rest.
Lou Lange July 28, 2012 at 06:05 PM
And for those who were concerned that I was a "nosy neighbor", I received this from a person close to the situation: Thank you for your concern. Now, would this person have sent that back let alone responded to me if they thought I was a "nosy neighbor"?
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Anita, you ask an excellent question. Let me think about that and get back to you.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Lou, don't worry too much about the critics. While they raise some interesting points that are worth discussing, it's not worth it to answer their barbs. You'll be interested to know I was just downtown and ran into someone I know who lives on Sandlewood. They remember you fondly. They told me what they thought of the coverage. I very much appreciate their comments. It meant the world to me.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 07:28 PM
And one more thing, re "nosy" neighbors ... we have those in my neighborhood too ... and we call them "concerned" neighbors. That's one of the many reasons why we like living here.
Malinda Moore July 28, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Looks like Lou may be looking for a reporting job with the Madison Patch, with his odd thought process. Don't know what's going on with the author of these articles, but they are in the comment section more than the general public. I also don't know exactly what the accepted standard is for a news reporters / journalists. Sometimes it appears to be a conflict of interest writing an article and then bashing people who have a difference of opinion. Maybe the journalist should be unbiased, support the open exchange of views even when they personally find some to be repugnant, avoid imposing their own values on others, personal views and opinions should be reserved for an editorial not posted in an article, know the difference between advocacy and news reporting, personal commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context, remain free of associations or personal support of a person or agency that may compromise integrity or credibility, be vigilant about holding those in power accountable, show compassion for those who may be adversely affected by news articles, be sensitive when using photographs involving those affected by tragedy or grief, realize that only an overriding public need should justify intrusion into someone's privacy. Am I completely nuts and not make sense as Pem implied or does anyone else out there agree with this?
Malinda Moore July 28, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Reply to Anita Bath's comment: (Pem, If you had a family member or friend who this was happening to, would you publish their address?) A perfect example if the shoe was on the other foot. Hard one to defend by the writer. Unfortunate things can happen to anyone at anytime. So depending on the circumstances, everyone shouldn't always cry it is their right to know. Ethics need to come into play more often.
AA July 28, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I’m indeed a bit stunned by the editor’s last few postings. Didn’t realize that there is the editor’s and Mr. Lange’s side versus the “critics’ and “their barbs.” Several postings earlier, the editor stated “let's not any of us go on the attack against any of the others who have posted. “ Mrs. Crowley’s, as librarian (a profession I respect highly), you offer your expertise with respect to what is reasonable and respectful language. If indeed concerned with respect and civility, the sentence “Finally as far as Mr. Lance's comments, I reread them and found them reasonably and respectfully stated which is more than can be said for other's comments on this list” should have ended after “… respectfully stated.” The " ... which is more than can be said for other's comments on this list" doesn't convey much respect. As to the subject at hand, Mrs. Crowley, I’d like take issue with “Because this ended peacefully are we more likely to want the man's privacy protected?” The point I’ve tried to make, seemingly without success, is that the specific house number should have been (or should be) omitted (and thus a certain degree of privacy warranted), because the situation for the gentleman has not yet ended. The immediate crisis seemingly is under control; however a road towards full recovery is ahead. That’s when and where a certain degree of privacy, for an individual with mental health issues, is preferable.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I would love to have Lou write for Madison Patch. You too. And, actually, there is a way to do that. You can post anytime in "blogs," "events," "announcements," and, of course, the comments. I am searching these comments for where I said you were completely nuts and cannot find that.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 29, 2012 at 12:58 PM
AB, re your question ... if it were a family member I would not be reporting on it, someone else would, and my supervisor would likely take the lead on handling that since that is a clear conflict of interest for me to be doing so. Since my editor supports the use of the house number, the answer is yes, we would publish the house number. If it were a friend or neighbor, the answer is yes. I have had friends and neighbors, much to my sorrow, end up in the police blotter, for example. Their names, addresses, and charges are published along with everyone else's. Some have understood and are still my friends. Some are not. But even those that are not, at least on some level, understand why I cannot make exceptions. This was an unusual circumstance, involving a gun and a regional response team. Generally someone dealing with police, fire, or out ambulance crews re an incident that involves a psychiatric emergency would not appear in Patch so people who reach out to those agencies for help should not be concerned about that. When there is a public disruption, that's different. While we can debate the use of the house number, it is in the best interests of all involved to get accurate, specific information out as quickly as possible. The few people I have spoken to who live on Sandlewood have not taken issue with my reporting the house number.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 29, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Oh I see ... when I said "the more you write the less you make sense" you read "completely nuts." Interesting. Yes, at Madison Patch, local editors write police news, government news, business features, profiles, restaurant reviews, movie reviews, recipe columns. We also engage in conversations with our readers and express our opinion. I would rather have you know my biases and take them into account then pretend I don't have any.
Anita Bath July 29, 2012 at 01:24 PM
There are a lot of people who feelmthe same way as you. In the padt, people who disagreed with pem were removed from this site for so called, " violaion of terms" agreement. I have emails from pem who has threatened to kick me off or such acts
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 29, 2012 at 01:29 PM
AA, when people say they are "disgusted" that can pretty clearly be read as a criticism and a barb. Saying someone "doesn't have a clue," "he's all talk" and he's a "nosy neighbor" is an attack. Were you stunned by those comments, or were those OK since both of those posters were engaging in the debate from the same point of view as you? I left those comments in because I think it is revealing that some chose to address the debate that way and that any subsequent comments from those people would be further put in context. Both of those people who went on the attack made good points, whether I agree with them or not, that were reduced in effectiveness due to their vitriol. Stick to the debate at hand, and I have no issue with that. Attack other people posting, and you'll either get push back or taken off the thread. As your comments have consistently shown, it's entirely possible to debate this while remaining polite and thoughtful.
Malinda Moore July 29, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Pem: No question that you do the best job ever of gathering and putting the news out there to the public, sometimes as it's happening. Just a difference of opinion I surmise, illustrated in your statement ( I would rather have you know my biases and take them into account then pretend I don't have any) Everyone has an opinion but I see this whole thing very differently. The local Editor regardless of whom they are should report the news without bias, move on & allow the general public to either comment or debate it. Currently, some articles hit a nerve and generate dozens of public comments all over the board. Good for site sponsors and advertisers. But we must not forget that the pen is mightier than the sword, therefore The Editor has the absolute ultimate power to sway news events in any manner they choose. That is, either in the initial reporting or in a corresponding comment section. I therefore don't think Editor bias is a good thing if it ends up being used as a propaganda tool for this or that. The way it is going now, many citizens are likely afraid to say anything or have an opinion contrary to the all powerful Editor. The problem being: The end result may just be one sided boring news articles that people will give up on and stop reading, opting for other more unbiased media. Just my opinion, hope there are no hard feelings. I'm curious to hear other people's views and opinions about this if they dare to have an opinion contrary to The Editor.


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