INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Just two days after his meeting with President Donald Trump, Marion County Sheriff John Layton (D) sat down for an interview to talk about what he hopes President Trump will do for law enforcement here in central Indiana. He also spoke of the need to get better mental health care for inmates in Marion County.
Sheriff Layton met with the President as part of the National Sheriff’s Association, which President Trump invited to the White House earlier this week. Layton says the President was open to the concerns he raised during their meeting, urging the new Commander-in-Chief that more resources are needed to stem the problems coming from inmates with mental illness.
“Wherever Indianapolis and Marion County can get a little help in the challenges that we’re facing, I’m going to go that direction,” said Layton. “Be it on the other side of the political fence or not.”
Among the biggest challenges Layton says he’s facing is how to treat and manage the hundreds of jail inmates dealing with mental illness.
“They do at least get taken care of, but they are not getting what they need to end their cycle of abuse,” said Layton.
Layton says about half of all his inmates are dealing with some kind problem either caused or exacerbated by mental illness. He’d like more resources to be able to help treat those inmates, and in theory, keep them from coming back to the jail. He’s hoping that’s where his words with the president will pay off.
“The more people that can put in the President’s ear what a problem we have in the mental health community with the warehousing of these poor people in our jails, the more attention that’s going to get,” said Layton.
Layton says getting the President’s ear is certainly made easier by having former Indiana Governor Mike Pence just a stone’s throw from the oval office. Despite being a democratic sheriff in a democratic-controlled city and county, he doesn’t think he’s at a disadvantage in front of Trump.
“He listened to me as intently as anyone else around the table,” said Layton.
That’s not to say Layton doesn’t have his disagreements with the Commander-in-Chief.
“Do I agree with everything President Donald Trump says? No,” said Layton. “And I wouldn’t think that he would expect me to. That’s not the point here, I wasn’t there for anything except to help Marion County.”