By Jonathan Goetz
October 2, 2016 (El Cajon) -- The shooting of a black man reportedly suffering a mental health crisis in El Cajon by police has led to protests, and police crack-downs. After an officer advanced toward Alfred Olango, gun drawn at close range, Olango allegedly pointed a vape pen, or smoking device, at the officer, who mistook it for a gun and fired the deadly shots.
El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, a clinician and former Director of Psychiatric Intake Services and Director of Outpatient Services, voiced support and empathy for both Olango’s family and for police in the City’s carefully crafted official response.
But many may not be aware that El Cajon’s City Council has been trying to address problems with the homeless and the mentally ill for quite some time. At its June 14th 2016 meeting, the El Cajon City Council voted to join San Diego County Mental Health and the Sheriffs in the East County Homeless Outreach Team, which embeds social workers with police and travels weekly to homeless hot-spots.