Office to honor Wilcox name |

Office to honor Wilcox name

A new public office on Sutton Way in Grass Valley will be dedicated on Sept. 28 to county Behavioral Health Department employee Laura Wilcox, one of three people fatally shot by a paranoid gunman on Jan. 10, 2001.

The Laura L. Wilcox Memorial Building will house the consolidated departments of Children’s Behavioral Health and Children’s Protective Services. This will enable better communication and collaboration between the two departments to ensure better service to the area, county officials said Thursday.

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors will host the dedication ceremony, and Yolo County Supervisor Helen Thomson will deliver a keynote address.

From 1996 until 2002, Thomson served as a California State Assembly member and authored AB 1421, or Laura’s Law. Thomson worked with Laura Wilcox’s parents, Nick and Amanda Wilcox, to obtain final passage of the bill.

The dedication ceremony falls on the two-year anniversary date of the day Laura’s Law was signed by Gov. Gray Davis. It allows for those suffering from serious mental illness to seek treatment and support earlier through two programs: the involuntary Assisted Outpatient Treatment and the alternative Assertive Community Treatment. Nick and Amanda Wilcox, Laura’s parents, have said they expect the bill to reduce jail placements and acute hospitalizations.

Laura Wilcox, 19, was one of several killed or injured when mental health patient Scott Harlan Thorpe opened fire at the Behavioral Health Department office in Nevada City. Thorpe has since been found not guilty by reason of insanity, and he is being held at a state psychiatric prison, possibly for the rest of his life.

Supervisors will discuss implementations of Laura’s Law at 2 p.m. Sept. 28, and the dedication will occur at 3 p.m. Following speeches by Thomson, county officials, and Laura Wilcox’s family, friends and co-workers, there will be a tour of the new building.

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