Frightened caregivers called police 25 times in four years to stop a Seattle man from punching, choking, or threatening to kill them or other clients, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Despite 24-hour supervision, Level 3 sex offender Kim Daly spied on children from inside his home and slit his window screen before being civilly committed as a sexual predator. Both men are in the state-funded Community Protection Program for dangerous developmentally disabled adults that pays for-profit companies an average of $93,000 a year to supervise them. The newspaper says that both cases illustrate gaps in the 8-year-old program’s ability to cope with its most violent, predatory or mentally ill clients.
The burden often falls on local police, who say they’re used as security backup by frontline staff. “You go out, you deal with it, you go out again,” said one former police commander whose officers were on the verge of using a Taser on one man in 2004. “The amount of staff time is incredible.” Residential staff across the state called police at least 520 times between 2000 and 2004. Police calls trigger a costly revolving door of arrest, jail, and release for clients who may not be legally competent to stand trial. Some clients thrive on the uproar. Others suffer behind bars, unable to grasp why they are there. Low-paid caregivers have been attacked more than 250 times in recent years, sustaining back injuries, scratches, bruises, bites. and gashes. Most employers require them to sign waivers acknowledging such risks are a condition of employment.