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Morning Briefing: LA's New Response To Mental Health Crises

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A mural raising awareness on mental health is painted across the windows of a Koreatown building. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A.

In response to demands for the city to respond to residents experiencing mental health crises with mental health experts instead of armed police officers, L.A. officials announced the city will partner with an existing county program to do just that.

The program will be piloted beginning Jan. 1 by placing mental health specialists at five fire stations throughout the city. My colleague Robert Garrova reports that those specialists will respond to some 911 calls, although it’s not yet clear which calls or how they will be routed.

The LAPD also supports the program.

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“Rather than looking to yet another program from LAPD or LAFD ... it’s pulling things off of our plate and putting them with our mental health professionals,” said LAPD chief Michel Moore.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, October 28

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New California State University Chancellor Joseph Castro intentionally stayed away from the term “Latino” or “Hispanic” to describe himself after trustees announced his appointment. His choice of words resonated with some and fell flat with others, reports Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

School visits and SATs are (mostly) out. Pandemic essays and virtual tours are in. Like everything else, applying to college is very weird now. Jill Replogle has the lowdown on how to proceed.

Some L.A. city leaders are pushing to amend local laws to effectively ban homeless encampments in certain parts of the city. The highly controversial motion faced harsh public comments on Tuesday, reports Aaron Schrank, but is on the agenda for a vote at a special meeting today.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Wildfires: As of Tuesday evening, the Blue Ridge Fire in Orange County has burned at least 15,200 acres, and was at 0% containment. The Silverado Fire, also in O.C., had burned 12,600 acres and was at 5% containment. This has been an historic wildfire season in California, with 4.2 million acres burned.

Policing The Police: A new report from the L.A. Police Commission Inspector General found racial disparities in both the frequency of police traffic stops and post-stop activity.

Mental Health Care: Mayor Eric Garcetti and county leaders announced a new pilot program using unarmed "therapeutic transport" response to people having mental health crises.

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Coronavirus Updates: L.A. announced a pilot program using rapid antigen testing for COVID-19, which it will roll out with firefighters. TheL.A. County Department of Public Health has approved 25 more waivers for local schools to reopen.

Election 2020: Young Angelenos’ views on who they are voting for and why are surprisingly complicated. This year’s LAUSD Unified School Board races have not only been the most expensive on record — they have also been the most negative.


Photo Of The Day

Comedian Macey Isaacs performs onstage in the parking lot of the Magic Castle. Isaacs was performing at the Comedy Store when the venue got shut down due to COVID-19, and had to reinvent herself in order to keep working and performing.

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(Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

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