A Sad Tale About Chicago’s Assisting the Mentally Ill…

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Chicago, IL—In Chicago like most cops I had a part-time security gig.  I handled security for the now long gone Continental Trailways Bus Company located at 20 East Randolph.

I had to deal with pimps looking for runaway girls needed for their stables.  Pick pockets, purse-snatchers, baggage thieves, drug addicts and sex-perverts all loved bus and train stations.   Dealing with this culture took a lot of tough love.  Yes, I had some epic and unforgettable battles that sent lots business to the local emergency rooms and the old 001 police lockup at 1121 South State street.

There were times I’d encounter people in real need and helping them was often a challenge.  I sent many people to area shelters and places where they could score a free meal.  I’d find vulnerable and desperate runaway girls in need of social services.  I gave the Salvation Armyhundreds of customers over the years.

One day in about 1971, I came into the depot and saw that officers were dealing with a man found removing a brown paper bag containing his life savings,  $70,000.00 from a rental storage locker.

The man was on a layover from New York to Los Angeles, CA to take a new job as an aircraft machinist.

A concerned woman saw his cash bag and called the police.  They arrived and the man was very livid and demanded to be left alone. He said he put the bag in a locker because he wanted to walk around and see some local sights.

A sergeant decided that the man should be sent to the Reed Zone Center to get his clock rewound.  In simple English that simply meant taking him to a mental facility for emergency care and observation.

The fun began!  These mental health referrals always bring lawyers appointed as guardians, court dates and of course mental health evaluations.  The man’s cash was inventoried and placed into the police evidence and recovered property section.

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