LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Both candidates for Tippecanoe County Sheriff believe in supporting mental health resources within the department. However they each have different approaches they plan to take.
Democratic candidate Bob Goldsmith announced Thursday that the first part of his plan for the office is focusing on building upon the current mental health resources.
According to Goldsmith, the department already provides mental health resources, but says they are underutilized.
Staff are allowed three in-person assessments. These assessments come at no charge to the county or to the staff person.
But he said three visits isn't enough, and plans to increase that number to around eight.
"We gotta be there for them,” said Goldsmith. “They turn to drugs, they turn to alcohol, they have marriage issues, financial issues and we need to recognize those things."
He has spent time learning about a program used by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department to provide mental health resources to their staff.
He said it is a program that has been implemented for about a month and half. He also said it’s hard to gauge the success of the program because it is all anonymous.
But he said Boone County is seeing a difference. A difference he hopes to make here in Tippecanoe County.
"We get asked all the time, how do you do your job? How do you deal with the things that you see," he said.
Jason Dombkowski worked as the Chief of Police for the West Lafayette Police Department for 10 years.
He said he and his family have personally dealt with tolls of the job.
He said after his brother, who is also a law enforcement officer in Lafayette, was stabbed in the face while responding to a situation, one person was the core of he and his family’s ability to recover.
"We're talking about acute stress and chronic stress and we happen to have stress expert," said Dombkowski.
And that expert is Dr. Will Miller. He is a chaplain and a registered psychotherapist. He feels Dr. Miller’s combination of spiritual and professional approach is the key.
"It's a holistic approach that we have used and I will continue to use,” said Dombkowski.
And Dombkowski said he plans to bring Dr. MIller along to the Sheriff’s Department if elected.
Dombkowski said that Dr. Miller has a service heart and does all of his with the department is free.
Goldsmith says he wants to look at inventory within the department to see where they can scale back and reallocate money to fund his program idea.
But he wants to reach out the community for with implementation.
"That's where I would reach out to the community and keep it local,” he said. “I understand Sycamore Springs has a program for adults who are suffering from traumatic events and I'd like to reach out to them."
However at the end of the day, both agree on the importance of mental health in law enforcement.
"I think this is a great topic to talk about because our people, we need to make sure they are healthy so they can serve our community,” said Dombkowski
Click here to visit Jason Dombkowski’s campaign website.
Click here to visit Bob Goldsmith’s campaign Facebook page.