Monday, July 24, 2006

Who cares for the most severely ill?

Anyone who still questions whether law enforcement personnel are the chief community caretakers of those most incapacitated by severe mental illnesses should read “Fresh tack helps hard problems” in the July 23 edition of the Modesto Bee:

[Modesto Police Officer Joey] Mercado is a downtown bicycle patrol officer who says calls involving the mentally ill take up nearly all his time. He sees the same group of repeat offenders — alcoholics, drug addicts and mentally ill — three to four times a day.

"A lot of people [with mental illness] out there have had contact with us hundreds of times," [Modesto Police Sgt. Kathleen] Blom said.