CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (WLFI) – Republican Representative for the United States Jim Baird is struggling to understand what local law enforcement agencies need to better protect the communities they serve.
“Our law enforcement officers are an integral part of our communities,” said Baird.
Baird is on a mission to help law enforcement.
“We have this message about funding the police, and I think it’s important that we stand up for the police.”
So, on Tuesday, he hosted a roundtable with a dozen law enforcement officers from the 4th Congressional District of Indiana.
“We have to make sure they have the resources, the tools and all the things they need to do this job well,” Baird explained.
Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly was among the officers present and said a topic was current.
“Mental illness and addiction,” Flannelly said. “They are the source of many problems in our communities. They are the source of many calls for service for our local police departments, which puts a lot of pressure on our prisons and our sheriff’s departments.”
Flannelly said the lack of access to mental health facilities and addiction programs is a nationwide problem.
“It’s about time we really started looking for long term solutions, stopped looking for quick fixes and really looked at how we can do things at the local level that we will integrate at the state level, that can be supported at the federal level, ”Flannelly said.
Baird said more needs to be done to ease the burden on law enforcement.
“They just really can’t do that in prisons and police departments,” Baird said. “They need qualified professionals for this.”
Baird said comments from Tuesday’s discussion will be considered at the federal level.
“Maybe there’s a place where we can step in on some of these concerns that they have and have shared with us today,” Baird said.
Baird said Congress is allocating federal funding right now, but he’s on summer recess right now.
He said police funding will be discussed when Congress resumes at the end of the month.