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IN THE NEWS: Sheriffs, chiefs of police highlight Joe’s record protecting law enforcement at roundtable

County sheriffs and chiefs of police from northwest Indiana hosted a roundtable discussion in Valparaiso to discuss Joe’s record as “a big supporter of law enforcement” in the Senate, the Northwest Indiana Times reported yesterday.

Attendees spoke about Joe’s Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, as well as his efforts to curb drug trafficking in northern Indiana by expanding the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program in the state and increasing funding for the program to help address the scourge of opioid abuse.

From the NWI TimesArea police tell U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly about their concerns with drugs and mental health issues

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., met Monday morning with area police chiefs and county sheriffs, where he said he heard concerns about mental health issues and the flow of drugs out of nearby Chicago.

The law enforcement leaders spoke about the challenges officers face by the various mental health issues they encounter among the public, he said.

Donnelly is author of the recently enacted Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which is aimed at helping law enforcement agencies establish or enhance mental health services for their officers.

The legislation will provide federal grants to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs, according to the senator's campaign. It also requires a study of the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks, and an evaluation of existing Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs mental health practices and services that could be adopted by law enforcement agencies.

"We want to make sure we're there for our officers at every turn," Donnelly said.

Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds, who hosted Monday'sevent at his police station, said Donnelly is a big supporter of law enforcement.

The discussion Monday about the flow of drugs into the area put the focus on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, operating in Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Marion counties, Donnelly said.

"They are a huge help in addressing this," he said.