Local Law Enforcement Officials Discuss Mental Health Issues With Senator Ernst


(Le Mars) — U-S Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa stopped by the Le Mars Police Station on Friday morning to visit with local law enforcement and city, county, and state government officials. Among the many topics of discussion mental health seemed to affect all those gathered at the meeting. Plymouth County Sheriff, Jeff TeBrink talked about the problem of not having enough beds for mental health patients.

Plymouth County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Rick Singer echoed TeBrink’s comments and contributed to the conversation.

TeBrink commented that the people needing assistance with their mental health issues are not necessarily getting the help they need.

Saying she didn’t think mental health cases were this bad 30 years ago, Senator Ernst asked Sheriff TeBrink as what in his opinion is driving up the number of cases today involving mental health patients?

The local law enforcement officials informed Senator Ernst that drug usage is going up, especially with methamphetamine, and that is a contributing factor with the mental health cases.

Former Plymouth County Sheriff, and now County Supervisor Mike Van Otterloo also attended Friday’s meeting. He wonders about how mental health will be handled now that the state is taking over much of the financing of mental health programs.

Le Mars Mayor Dick Kirchoff, Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte, and State House Representative Dr. Tom Jeneary all were in attendance of Friday’s meeting. Senator Ernst’s visit to Plymouth County was part of her 99-county tour.