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Letters: Sheriff's Dept. fails a vulnerable man

November 19, 2013

Re "Shrug from a failed system," Column, Nov. 17

Most families aren't so fortunate to have a Times staff reporter post an all-points bulletin about a missing relative. The non-assurance assurance from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department about the jails needing to do a better job of handling people like Mike Farrell is insulting.

Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center originally said that Farrell — who briefly went missing last month after sheriff's deputies arrested him on suspicion of drunk driving — was never a patient; an official there later said Farrell wandered off on his own.

And why was this man arrested in the first place? Not every confused person is intoxicated. There was no indication he failed a breath test.

Rather than take him to jail, did the deputies think he might have a medical problem requiring real attention and a follow-up call to his home? I worry that too many people are handled this way by the county's finest.

Donna Clemons

Armona, Calif.


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