More than 18 years ago, Laura Wilcox was shot to death by a mentally ill patient who had refused services.
Wilcox worked in a clinic to provide help and treatment to the mentally ill. The murder prompted the state legislature to pass a law in 2002 that would allow counties to force certain mentally ill people to receive treatment.
The law is applied on a county by county basis, and the individual must have been in a jail or hospital because of their condition, and are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
Los Angeles County adopted the law in 2014, 12 years after it passed. Tuesday, members of the Long Beach City Council will ask for a report on how the law has been enforced over the last five years.
“With mental illness, homelessness, and public safety continuing to be a major focus for all Long Beach residents, the City Council should receive an update on this law and an explanation of how it is being implemented by Los Angeles County," Price said. "These important and difficult topics of crime, mental health, and homelessness all intersect when discussing Laura’s Law."
Long Beach has begun trying to respond to the portion of the homeless population suffering mental illness with its Quality of Life police teams and the fire department's Homeless Education And Response Team (HEART). In both cases, evaluation for mental condition takes place before a course of action is decided.
Price's agenda item, co-sponsored by Jeannine Pearce (Second District), Daryl Supernaw (Fourth District) and Roberto Uranga (Seventh District), asks for report from either city or county officials about how Laura's Law is being enforced. It's unclear whether city staff will try to report next Tuesday or ask for time to research the issue.
The council meeting begins at 5 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.