By Mary Beth Schneider
State Rep. Scott Reske, a Democrat running for Congress in Indiana's 5th District, said today he supports continued federal funding for a trio of programs that help local law enforcement agencies. He cited the recent shootings near his Pendleton home that affected him personally. On July 26, a Pendleton man shot and wounded two police officers and killed an innocent passer-by before being killed himself in an exchange of gunfire with police. And on July 27, another man was killed in a shootout with police after having wounded a Fortville police officer.
"The innocent victim was a neighbor and friend of mine, and one of the police officers that was shot was a neighbor and friend, too," said Reske, who is a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and former volunteer firefighter and reserve deputy sheriff in Madison County. "I mourn the death of my neighbor and pray for the recovery of my friend, the police officer."
But, he said, "that's why I'm here to emphasize the fact that these programs need to stay in place."
They include the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act, which has provided over $300 million since 1987 to help local police purchase body armor; the Public Safety Officers Benefit Act, which provides a federal death benefit to the families of "first responders" killed in the line of duty; and the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, which creates a federal, state and local partnership to streamline grant administration.
"These are very good programs which are bipartisan programs," Reske said.
But with Congress under pressure to trim spending, Reske said any program like these is in jeopardy.
Reske is running against Republican Susan Brooks, a former U.S. Attorney, for the seat long held by U.S. Rep. Dan Burton.