"Keep up the good work on mental health issues" by SFOP/PIA members:  Monica Olsen, Gloria Stofan, Ellen Hage, Barbara Erbacher, Delia McGrath, Carolyn Jaramillo

"Editor: This was an open letter sent to Pacifica Chief of Police Dan Steidle.

In the aftermath of the tragic death of Errol Chang and subsequent conversations with you about the need for mental health professionals to assist peace officers in dealing with persons suffering mental illness, we would like to express our gratitude and congratulations for your handling of a recent case of a mentally ill man in Pacifica. 

He has been known to many in the community which makes his illness dismayingly tragic. We learned that the officers who responded were accompanied by mental health professionals. His non-violent committal was a gift to his beloved family and neighborhood.

This approach has been urged by Council Member Mary Ann Nihart and the undersigned faith-based community activists. This is the kind of community policing we truly respect and honor. We hope this will continue to be the approach in our community when persons with mental illness are in extreme crisis. We congratulate and offer words of praise for all who were involved."

Reference, SFOP/PIA organizations. San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action. "Who are we? The San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action (SFOP/PIA) is a grassroots coalition of congregations and schools working to create innovative solutions to the economic and racial injustices facing residents on the San Francisco Peninsula. We engage families, youth and seniors in public life to create a safe, healthy, and thriving communities for everyone. Together with other PICO affiliates around the state and country, SFOP/PIA is creating a new vision that unites people who believe in justice across neighborhood, race, class, family structure and religion." Facebook.  Peninsula Interfaith Action (PIA), "Peninsula Interfaith Action (PIA) creates justice by forging a common sense of purpose among diverse communities, addressing local problems, putting faith into action, building hope and finding solutions."  

Related,  SFOP/PIA, PICO organization article. PeopleActing Together (PACT), Valley Catholic, 1/14/14. "Peninsula Interfaith Action (PIA), part of the PICO National Network of faith-based community organizations, has merged, beginning Jan. 1, (2014) with the San Francisco Organizing Project (SFOP), with the aim of strengthening community organizing on the Peninsula.  PACT (People Acting in Community Together), a PICO organization which has components at Catholic parishes and other faith groups, has been engaged in Santa Clara County (Diocese of San Jose) for more than 30 years. PIA began some 17 years ago and has engaged parishes in the northern part of Santa Clara County and the southern part of San Mateo County (Archdiocese of San Francisco). According to Jennifer Martinez, PhD, Co-Director of SFOP/PIA, “We will explore new methods, new partnerships, and new visions to address the social justice needs of our region. We are beginning to see how our work for immigrant rights, affordable housing, access to health care and breaking the cycle of violence and incarceration will be enhanced by the alliance of these two long-standing organizations." 

Note related Fix Pacifica articles:  the death of Errol Chang, 3/18/14, search Errol Chang.  Police and first responder intervention training which occurred  that Summer, 2014, search mentally ill.

Posted by Kathy Meeh