LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) - Logansport's youngest city councilman is back home after spending the past five months in basic training in Missouri.
Jonathan Nelms is a member of the Indiana National Guard. He went to training to become a military police officer in January and just returned this month.
"I'm excited to continue working with the government to make sure that Logansport not only gets through this but thrives," he said.
He missed a lot while he was gone, including Cass County becoming an hot spot for coronavirus cases. As of June 29th, the county has 1,636 confirmed cases and nine deaths. He said he was upset that he wasn't able to be in Logansport to help during the peak of the outbreak in Cass County.
And Logansport has not been immune to the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. He said it was hard to be away from his city during this time, but he's ready to work towards solutions.
"My main priority with that now is to make sure some of these local businesses get a lot of city support and making sure we try not to have anybody losing their jobs because of the covid impact," he said, especially because 2021 is a budget year for the city. He said the city council is all on the same page about fiscal responsibility.
Nelms said during basic training, social distancing and wearing face coverings were mandatory.
This is also a unique time for him to be training as a police officer, and being a member of the national guard, as protests against police brutality and for the Black Lives Matter movement continue across the nation. Nelms said they were told about the protests a few weeks before he left basic training.
He said his drill sergeant warned the national guard people in the room that they may be deployed in their cities upon returning home.
"From my personal point of view, there was no fear coming from anyone in the room," he said. "We knew that if we got activated that it would be for nothing more than making sure people didn't get hurt."
Along with these protest for racial inequality are many calls for defunding police departments. Nelms said defunding Logansport's police is not something the city council is looking into. He said he would need a lot of concrete evidence before supporting taking money from the police department and said he doesn't want to take away necessary funds the department uses to keep the community safe.
He said he has faith in the local police chief to uphold moral behaviors in the department. He said he is staying in close contact with other local leaders, including Mayor Chris Martin and the police chief, to make sure the needs of the city are met.