In the News

U.S. Rep Jim Baird Holds Roundtable Discussion with Local Law Enforcement

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (WLFI) — Republican U.S Rep. Jim Baird is working to get a grasp of what local law enforcement needs to better protect the communities they serve.

"Our law enforcement officers are an integral part of our communities," Baird said.

Baird is on a mission to help law enforcement.

"We've got this messaging going on about defunding the police, and I think it's important that we defend the police."

So, on Tuesday he hosted a roundtable discussion with about a dozen law enforcement officers from Indiana's 4th Congressional District.

"We need to make sure that they have the resources and the tools and all the things that are necessary for them to be able to do that job well," Baird explained.

Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly was among the officers in attendance and said one subject was common.

"Mental illness and addiction," Flannelly said. "They drive a lot of the problems in our communities. They drive a lot of calls for service for our local police departments which puts a lot of pressure on our jails and our sheriff departments."

Flannelly said a lack of access to mental health facilities and addiction programs is a problem nationwide.

"It's time that we really start looking for long term solutions, stop looking at band-aid solutions and really look at how can we do things at the local level that we'll integrate at the state level, that can be supported at the federal level," Flannelly said.

Baird said more needs to be done to take the burden off of law enforcement.

"They really are not capable of doing that in the jails and in the police departments," Baird said. "They need trained professionals for that."

Baird said the feedback from Tuesday's discussion will be taken into consideration at the federal level.

"Maybe there's a place that we can interject some of these concerns that they have and shared with us today," said Baird.

Baird said congress is in the process of appropriating federal funding right now, but they are on summer break right now.

He said police funding will be discussed when congress reconvenes at the end of the month.

(This story appeared on the WLFI's website. The article can be viewed here).