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Black Lives Matter South Bend asking council to pass bill

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 11:29 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - South Bend’s Community Relations Committee held a virtual meeting Tuesday night to discuss a variety of topics, including The Breathe Act, a bill that many cities across the country are trying to pass.

The Breathe Act would take resources out of the police department and invest more resources into community programs.

“Investing that money into programs that attack the root causes of crime,” said Mya Perry with Black Lives Matter - South Bend.

For example, the bill would offer more afterschool education programs; offer more mental health services; hire more mental health experts, trauma-informed interventionists and counselors; and limit police officers in school settings.

“These are people who are trained that come from the community who work with people who have interpersonal conflicts, things we do not need armed officers attending to,” Perry said.

But Josh Morgan, Vice President of FOP 36, raised the question: “How will a mental health worker deal with a violent situation? Everything will fall back on the police department...It’s a wonderful idea in a perfect world. We don’t have 24-hour social workers and mental health workers. We have a police department who works 24 hours a day. Having all these agencies 24 hours a day is not feasible.”

The administration would ultimately decide if this passes, but council members said it would take some time.

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