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Letters: Cops aren't social workers

September 12, 2012

Re "Where was help for Alesia?," Column, Sept. 8

As long as we as a society are comfortable with the decision we made to have law enforcement agencies be our front-line social service workers, we should not be surprised to see officers handle mental or medical emergencies like criminal acts.

If you are disturbed by the story that a poor single mother is dead because leaving her children at a police station is considered "endangerment," or that the mentally ill continue to die at the hands of the justice system, perhaps it's time we recognize again that these are not crimes. A properly funded safety net staffed by social workers and healthcare professionals is the answer.

Under Gov. Ronald Reagan, we started dismantling the only functional system we had. In retrospect, it seems like fixing that system was more tenable than what we have now.

Matt Lucas

Lake Forest


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