Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California law enforcement confronts mental illness

Kulbinder Kaur comforts her mother Sukhwinder Kaur as she sits next to a photograph of her son Parminder Singh Shergill, an Iraq war veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome shot by police after they said he lunged at officers with a knife.
Kulbinder Kaur comforts her mother Sukhwinder Kaur as she sits next to a photograph of her son Parminder Singh Shergill, an Iraq war veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome shot by police after they said he lunged at officers with a knife. jvillegas@sacbee.com

With the use of force by law enforcement a paramount issue nationally and in California, an underlying debate has focused on how peace officers interact with the mentally ill.

It is a situation officers face often, sometimes with tragic results. The California Highway Patrol’s chief has described a lack of training on the matter as “a big issue,” and a bill before the Legislature would require more instruction on dealing with disabled or mentally ill people.

Today the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health delves deeper, holding a hearing that will call upon current and former law enforcement officers from the CHP, the San Diego Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as well as representatives of Disability Rights California and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The hearing runs from 10 a.m. to noon in Los Angeles, and you can watch remotely here.

PORTABLE: Given the volume of goods California exports, the state’s ports represent a key cog in its economy. Today the Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement will hold a hearing on keeping those ports competitive, drawing on testimony from port officials, a Pacific Merchant Shipping Association representative, a longshoremen’s union officer and others. Starting at 9 a.m. in the Port of Long Beach Maintenance Facility Meeting Room.

DIVERSIFIED: The Greenlining Institute is hosting a Los Angeles seminar on how to extend economic growth to communities of color as state-sanctioned forms of racism like redlining have given way to more subtle barriers. Speakers will include California Energy Commission head David Hochschild, Federal Housing Finance Agency director Melvin L. Watt and Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles.

RANDY: Continuing his habit of venturing into territories not usually hospitable to Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, will be in San Francisco on Saturday for a conference on civic engagement. This being San Francisco (where Republicans make up 8.2 percent of the electorate), the conference is entitled Disrupting Democracy and focuses on technology’s role.

CELEBRATIONS: Speaking of libertarians, happy birthday to ex-Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who turns 49 on Saturday.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.

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