Sheriff: Local law enforcement, businesses could improve preparedness with more resources

Rebecca Bibbs, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·2 min read

Apr. 16—ANDERSON — Local law enforcement agencies could be better prepared for a mass shooting incident similar to the one that took place Thursday night at FedEx in Indianapolis, said Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger.

"With more reasonable budgets and more human resources, we could be much better prepared," he said. "But we do train for all situations. We have an excellent county-wide training process where multiple agencies train together, mixing officers from different agencies together. Officers who are certified instructors have done a great job in Madison County."

Though some Indianapolis-based FedEx workers do live in Madison County, they reportedly have been told not to comment publicly on Thursday night's tragic incident.

Officials with Friends of NRA East Central Indiana and Clayton Whitson, president of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, did not return calls for comment.

The county's preparedness training also includes other first responders, such as EMS and fire departments, which often have paramedics that can be first to a scene, Mellinger said.

"We have offered awareness and risk assessments to private and public entities for several years," he added.

A self-described pro-gun advocate for those who are responsible users, Mellinger said he doesn't think the gun control measures announced last week by President Joe Biden go far enough. Those measures include cracking down on the sale of "ghost guns" made from DIY and stricter regulations for stabilizing braces that can transform a handgun into something more like a rifle.

"I am afraid we are moving too far away from most types of checks and balances which make it harder for people to possess firearms legally," he said. "If or when Indiana opens the floodgates by taking away law enforcement's responsibility to do background checks prior to issuing a gun permit, I believe we'll have more significant problems."

Much of the problem, said Mellinger, a former state representative and former executive director of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, lies at the feet of legislators who fear pushback from the public if they put in place gun control measures.

"I laughed out loud when I heard an Indiana state legislator say, 'It is our public's constitutional right to possess a firearm. It is law enforcement's responsibility to find ways to make sure the wrong people don't have firearms,'" he said. "Here is a guy who is legislating and supporting for zero background checks and then putting the burden on law enforcement to solve the problem he is creating."

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.