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October 24
1992 - Dedication of Santa Clarita's first Metrolink station (Santa Clarita Station) [brochure]
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Dr. Gene DorioOn one of my early morning runs as the community began to stir, I saw a law enforcement neighbor leaving for work, followed closely by family. Their 4-year-old daughter clung to the uniformed pant leg, crying, “Please don’t go to work” several times.

After reassurance, but still crying and waving good-bye, the little girl, exhausted, said, “Come home soon. I don’t want you to die.”

Changes need to be made, and long ago many in law enforcement personnel realized their role. Attempting to care for mental health problems, homelessness, and other social ills should not be placed in their realm. Los Angeles County has been aware of this also.

For several years, I have been involved in a program at College of the Canyons, collaborating with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department to remedy this problem. The Sheriff set up a task force educating officers to recognize social issues, and instead of law enforcement, a mental evaluation team (MET) of social workers and counselors is utilized. (A “RAMP” team was developed beyond the MET team, but apparently it teeters on funding.)

Programs already exist, but now let’s fund and perfect them, to protect citizens and law enforcement, including little girls.

 

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D., is a geriatric house-call physician who serves as president of the Los Angeles County Commission for Older Adults and Assemblyman to the California Senior Legislature. He has practiced in the Santa Clarita Valley for 32 years.

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