Emergency involuntary commitment is provided in a majority of states to allowfor rapid response to patients who are acutely violent and must be hospitalized quickly. The authors investigated the use of emergency hospitalization in North Carolina and found that the majority of petitions executed by law-enforcement officers did not provide adequate evidence for the required criteria. In fact, in many cases the authors noted a marked absence of such criteria. The authors discuss these results and possible reasons for the misuse of the emergency commitment provisions. They stress the importance of cooperation between community mental health professionals and law-enforcement officials in the evaluation of disruptive individuals who may be mentally disordered.