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An IR View: Rebuilding EHPD, downplaying insurrection, healthy food program | Editorial

In his first week on the job, East Helena’s new mayor Kelly Harris is busy working to straighten out the city’s mess of a police department.

The city’s former Police Chief William Harrington stepped down before pleading guilty to distributing child pornography last year, and every remaining officer in East Helena has resigned since then.

In a lengthy conversation with the Independent Record, Harris and the city’s legal counsel were both very candid in describing the problems that led to current situation. They also detailed plans to provide temporary police services through emergency hires and a partnership with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and to significantly increase the starting salary for officers to attract and maintain the best talent for the long term.

We commend the new mayor for his openness and candor, and for making the reform of the East Helena Police Department his top priority.

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As many were mourning the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at our nation’s Capitol Thursday, organizers of a remembrance in Helena rejected the idea that an insurrection even happened. 

On Jan. 6, 2021 a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters broke their way through police lines and into the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers to flee for safety as they attempted to certify the Electoral College vote in the 2020 presidential election. Many innocent victims were injured and several died during and after the attack, and at least 727 people including two from the Helena area have been charged for their role in it.

Although the organizers of the Helena rally consider themselves to be patriots, there is nothing patriotic about downplaying this illegal and dangerous attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.

A new program is helping Helena-area residents who are dealing with both food insecurity and medical conditions that require a special diet.

Through the new Food is Care program, Helena Food Share and St. Peter’s Health assemble and deliver boxes of specially selected food items aimed at helping the recipients manage or improve their health.

This can literally be a life-saver for those suffering from conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension. Thanks to Helena Food Share and St. Peter’s Health for looking out for our neighbors dealing with this double whammy.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board.