On The Issues
Improving Public Safety
Between 2013 and 2017, Missouri’s murder rate climbed 61%. This dangerous growth rate cannot be allowed to go on.
I stand firmly behind the dedicated work of our law enforcement officers. To better enable their success in the field, improvements in the way the state approaches mental health and criminal justice are warranted. As governor, I am committed to being a partner to law enforcement, providing leadership and working collaboratively to create an environment in which both families and growing businesses can feel safe to call Missouri home.
Whether the gateway drug is marijuana or a legal prescription painkiller, the slope toward addiction can often be a slippery one. As governor, I will oppose all attempts to legalize recreational marijuana. At the same time, I will work with medical professionals and the state legislature to enact reasonable limits on opioid prescriptions and support provider education and training.
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death among Americans under age 50. In Missouri, drug use, including methamphetamine use, is rising dramatically. In fact, drug arrests hit their highest point in a decade last year. We must change course. My administration will work to expand evidence-based education and prevention programs. Every Missourian should know and understand the signs of addiction as well as the dangers of meth use to aid in early intervention.
The criminal justice system is the state’s largest provider for the mentally ill, a costly responsibility it’s not fully equipped to handle. As governor, I would:
Work to ensure there are an array of mental-health options throughout the state by leveraging tele-psychiatry and expanding resources in schools;
Promote crisis intervention training and help assemble local crisis response teams to support law enforcement;
Partner with Employee Assistance Programs to expand options for Missourians, helping individuals with mental health needs before they commit offenses; and
Support ongoing pilot programs that divert non-violent offenders with mental illness through treatment programs, rather than the criminal justice system, expanding those programs which produce positive outcomes.
I believe local communities must have the ability to decide how to best protect their students. As governor, I will take the same approach, ensuring schools and communities have the flexibilities needed to assert local control and protect our kids.
As a conservative, I believe leaders have a responsibility to minimize government intrusion but maximize its impact. This is as true in criminal justice as it is anywhere else. Missouri has always been a law-and-order, tough-on-crime state. I support that. But no matter how tough our laws are, they aren’t effective if law enforcement doesn’t have the technological, financial, or investigative resources necessary to enforce those laws. While working to maintain strong relationships between officers and the neighborhoods they serve, I am committed to ensuring law enforcement have technologies, such as body cameras, and the enforcement tools necessary to keep us and themselves safe – both in our communities and online.