Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek was among the law enforcement officials who huddled for two hours Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss how best to curb U.S. gun violence.
Stanek, president of the Major County Sheriffs' Association, said he told Biden there was a pressing need to screen for mental illness and get through to youth who have become desensitized to violence, the Star Tribune reports.
Stanek said there’s a “strong correlation” between mental illness and mass shootings. He also said jails are becoming de facto treatment centers for the mentally ill because there are inadequate programs and facilities for them, Associated Press reported.
In the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting that left 26 dead last week, President Barack Obama tapped Biden to lead an effort to come up with a plan to stem gun violence, to be presented to Congress next month.
Stanek told MPR that the consensus at the meeting was that "something needs to change."
"Policy makers need to address it. Law enforcement needs to address it. Parents and citizens of this country need to address it," Stanek told MPR.