MARION, OH (WCMH) — A local law enforcement officer will be at President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address.
Marion Police Major Jay McDonald is attending as the President of the State Fraternal Order of Police (Ohio FOP) and as the sole invitee of U.S. Senator Rob Portman.
McDonald said law enforcement officers are facing many issues like fewer officers hired in many communities, pay discrepancies, officers being injured or killed in the line of duty, and the need for protections for families of those injured or killed.
“That is one of the things President Trump has been really good at is recognizing the good things our people do, realizing that law enforcement is not the cause of all the world’s problems. And showing respect to the men and women who risk their lives to serve the community,” McDonald said.
He expects to hear about the opiate epidemic, human trafficking and other issues all related to police work.
“Expect we’ll hear more about immigration, infrastructure and taxes and the economy and all the things play a role that our members do across the state and country,” said McDonald.
He does not expect Trump to address claims of police brutality, but he did.
“Our officers do the right thing 99.9 percent of the time. Law enforcement officers have never been more educated, more diverse and professional than they are today, he said. “Law enforcement officers have millions of contacts with people each day across the country,” McDonald said. “The use of force by law enforcement officers is a minuscule part of those contacts. “Law enforcement work is not always pretty, it is not always easy and the use of force is sometimes a part of it,” McDonald said.
He said law enforcement needs to recruit more minority applicants and candidates. He said the way to do that is to widen the net, not lower the standards. “We have to reach out to kids and get them interested in law enforcement. “We have to let them know they have the chance to impact communities,” he said.
McDonald said he has met with the president before. Sitting down in the Oval Office with a group of law enforcers earlier this year, and talking about police issues. He was able to do that because he is also the National Vice President of the FOP.
“He had a lot of questions about the opiate crisis and I took the lead and he really paid attention, he took a lot of notes, and I was impressed with how the meeting turned out,” McDonald said.
Last year, 125 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty and more than 200 were wounded and McDonald said President Trump understands the sacrifices police officers make.
McDonald said he is one of 535 people invited to the State of the Union by Senators and Congressmen and women.
He will fly to Washington DC Tuesday morning and meet with Senator Rob Portman to get a better idea of how his day will unfold.