RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin held a roundtable with law enforcement leaders Saturday to discuss ways to curb Virginia's soaring crime rate.
"Today we begin the process of forging a new path forward for a safer Virginia," Chesterfield Police Chief Colonel Jeffery Katz said.
Part of that path meant touring the Bend Apartments off Route 10 in Chesterfield where the governor-elect walked the property with officers talking about crime trends in the community.
"I'm extraordinarily pleased to see everyone come together in this way because this is the beginning of how I expect to approach the many challenges we have in our law enforcement community today," Youngkin said.
Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl Leonard said mental illness is one of those challenges that must be tackled since many people with mental health issues end up in jail.
"Just sitting with us for 144 hours is no service to them,” Leonard said. “And it's taking that officer, trooper or deputy off the road for 144 hours. We got to address the tdo (temporary detention order)."
“The requirements for law enforcement to stay with a Virginian who is having a mental health crisis for an extended period of time, because there's no place to actually hand them to,” Youngkin said. “And therefore, it’s further depleting the capacity of an already stretched law enforcement community. And there are so many good ideas on how to address it. And I was pleased by the ideas that were surfaced."
Youngkin also pledged to “comprehensively fund” law enforcement with increased salaries as well as budgets for increased training.
The governor-elect also said qualified immunity must be protected to “protect law enforcement from frivolous civil lawsuits.”
Additionally, Youngkin said it is crucial to “increase the pipeline of folks coming into law enforcement and make sure this is a job Virginians will take."