Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) spoke at the fall meeting of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police on Friday at Kansas Municipal Utilities.
Moran discussed several law enforcement issues, including funding for programs, partnership between federal and local agencies and officer suicides.
"An increasing amount of suicides within the law enforcement community is something that requires us all to come together," Moran said. "It requires more than just words; it requires the state of Kansas and the federal government coming together to provide additional resources for mental health counseling, for intervention, and it requires us coming together to give law enforcement the tools to reduce the stress and difficulties of their job on an everyday basis."
Providing mental health care for inmates is also a pressing need and will require training, hiring and retaining more mental health professionals, according to Moran.
Drugs — from opioids to methamphetamine to marijuana — and the crimes associated with them were also addressed by Moran.
"I am sorry that you have the consequences of having to deal with drugs in our communities," Moran said.
While opioid addiction continues to be an issue, the rise of methamphetamine use across Kansas is also concerning.
"Methamphetamine in Kansas is still at epidemic levels and causes significant challenges and damages to communities and families across our state," Moran said.
The pros and cons of legalizing marijuana, whether for medical or recreational use, have been a recent topic of contention across Kansas.
"When law enforcement is in the room, they're very quick to point out the significant challenges and changes of the characteristics of our communities that happen with the introduction of an additional drug when that drug becomes legal," Moran said.
The senator voiced his intention to work with law enforcement agencies to aid them in their mission to protect their communities.
"At every opportunity, I want to be helpful to you," Moran said. "I want to work hard to see that you have the resources and support that you need."
Also attending the KACP meeting were Sen. Rick Wilborn (R-McPherson), Mayor Tom Brown, Kansas Bureau of Investigation Director Kirk Thompson and representatives from the FBI, Department of Justice, Kansas Department of Transportation, Concerns of Police Survivors and more than 50 police chiefs from across the state.