I know how difficult being a police officer is and how an individual can fall through the cracks when there is no one who cares. I am a former New York newspaperman whose paper closed down and I went into public relations for the New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn.
My letter has to do with the Los Angeles Police Department, in particular, the Mental Health Evaluation Unit run by Detective Walter J. DeCuir. This is a unit that has outstanding police professionals who care for human life. They help people in trouble get the proper medical attention so that they can take their rightful place in society.
One such police officer is Detective Bill Pavelic, a man who cares and has helped this New York family save our son and assisted us in getting the proper medical attention for him.
My son Thomas, a graduate from a top Ivy League school and who attended New York Medical School, had a breakdown. He was taken into custody while in Los Angeles for driving without a license--actually one that was suspended because of many traffic violations.
We knew Tom needed help. We knew he needed to be hospitalized, but we didn't know how to do it because of the mental laws being what they are. Pavelic and an attorney we hired, Eric Epstein, a former New York City assistant district attorney, were of tremendous help. The traffic case and other minor charges were handled by the Los Angeles district attorney's office, especially Assistant Dist. Atty. Tom Herman, who, with the help of the court, insisted that as part of the probation, my son receive the proper medical attention.
Tom is now in New York-Cornell Hospital. We now see the light at the end of this long, long tunnel. We are grateful that he is now receiving the help he needs in order to return to society.
But without a caring Police Department, especially Detective Pavelic, this wouldn't be possible. This wonderful human being cared for my wife and I who traveled 3,000 miles seeking help for our son.
Tom was in Central Jail and we refused to bail him out, "hard love."
Pavelic helped us to help our son, and we are going public to thank him and all of the others who helped. I am sure that when my son gets well he'll come back to the city he loves, Los Angeles, and do something to thank the people for their outstanding Police Department.
GEORGE T. DOURIS
New York City