Hinson, Brinkley discuss drug problems ahead of State of the Union address

WASHINGTON — Mason City’s police chief is in Washington DC for tonight’s State of the Union address. Jeff Brinkley was invited to the Capitol as the guest of north-central Iowa congresswoman Ashley Hinson.

Hinson says it’s important to highlight the great work law enforcement officers do in communities, and that includes Brinkley and the Mason City police force.  “I think it’s really important also to talk about how the failures of our current administration and President Biden are having an impact on our local communities, and that’s certainly something that I think we’ve been able to talk about here. A community like Mason City, a population of 27,000 people, the equivalent of the city of Mason City are crossing the border seven times a month, and that’s just unsustainable, it’s unsafe, and it is having a real-world impact on communities like Mason City and the others I represent.”

Hinson says she and Brinkley have been talking to anybody who will listen about the drug problem being compounded by the border crisis.  “I think it’s really really important to get our message out, elevate the conversation around law enforcement in general, making sure people understand the good work that they are doing. There’s been a lot of anti-police rhetoric lately in this country, which has resulted in a recruiting problem and crisis for local departments. So I think it’s really important to talk about again all the positive things that police are doing in our communities to help keep us all safe. I’ll talk to anyone and everyone who will listen to that message.”

Brinkley says he was honored to be invited by Hinson to the State of the Union address. “It came as a real surprise to me, I’m really honored to be here.  I think every time I come to Washington DC, there’s a reverence and respect for what happens here, and the impact that this community has had on our entire country. It’s a chance to be out here I think to really talk about decisions and policies and laws that get passed and made here that impact us in north-central Iowa, and how we can work together to speak truth to power to try to do better.”

Brinkley says he’s been able to spread his message to many in Washington about the increasing drug problem in Iowa.   “From talking to people here, I wish more people could hop in and spend four or five hours with our patrol officers.  I think when you get out in your community and you see the impact of substance use, mental health, lack of resources, kind of what we’re seeing with inflation and people are out of money, what does that look like, and I think every day, being in a patrol car with a police officer is a front-seat look at those kind of problems. There’s been good reception to that and I think an interest in trying to do better, and I think the border side of this, when we have secure borders and we’re able to vet people that are coming into our country illegally, that makes for safe communities, so those things go hand in hand.”

Brinkley says with an insecure border, north-central Iowa has seen more drug activity.  “I think it was last week or the week before, an arrest made, somebody out of Omaha with nine pounds of methamphetamine in Mason City. That’s cartel-weight dope, and that’s not the kinds of things that I chased around as a younger officer when we were maybe doing one-ounce deals or two-ounce deals. That’s eight or nine times in a pound that amount of dope. Those are significant issues for our community, and continue to purvey to other challenges that we see with crime, the exacerbation of mental health issues and those kind of things too.”

You can hear tonight’s coverage from CBS News Radio of the State of the Union address on AM-1300 KGLO and kgloam.com starting at 8:00 PM.