September 2, 2010
State Anti-Crime Grants Helping Fund Local Drug Task Force
Law enforcement agencies across Missouri are members of a team in the battle against drugs. On August 27th, the Missouri Department of Public Safety announced some financial aid for a number of these teams. Law enforcement agencies across Missouri will share almost $7 million in two separate rounds of grants designed to combat drug-related crimes and strengthen law enforcement efforts. One round of grants will utilize more than $978,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“Strengthening our efforts in the fight against illegal drugs not only helps take criminals off the streets, it reduces the devastating impact that drugs have on our society and makes Missouri’s communities stronger,” said Department of Public Safety Director John M. Britt. “Many of the recipients of these grants are multi-jurisdictional task forces. These regional efforts are a great way to maximize the impact of these funds.”
A total of $6,790,693 in federal Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) is being awarded to 27 multi-jurisdictional drug task forces operated by counties and municipalities; one law enforcement program that coordinates street level efforts in narcotics investigations; one program that responds to clandestine methamphetamine labs and provides important supplies to emergency response personnel; two prosecution and court programs that investigate domestic crimes or crimes against children; and one program that assists the Department of Public Safety develop crime fighting strategy.
The almost $7 million in grants announced today will allow many of the recipient agencies to keep their specialized drug task force programs at full-strength during tight budget times.
The initiatives receiving a portion of the $6,790,693 included the North Missouri Drug Task Force headquartered in Adair County, which will receive $241,234.
Both the City of Memphis Police Department and the Scotland County Sheriff’s Department are members of this task force, paying annual dues in exchange for shared equipment and manpower.
“We use the task force pretty regularly,” said Scotland County Chief Deputy Bryan Whitney. “As a matter of fact we used them twice last week.”
Police Chief Bill Holland stated the task force is often a resource for equipment that smaller departments cannot afford, offering a central source to share such items as surveillance equipment, while also providing technical support and assistance in operating such devices.
“The task force has a lot of specialized equipment that most local law agencies just simply cannot afford,” Whitney said. “But they maintain it, allowing departments across this part of the state to share the equipment at no cost to the county.”
He added that the sheriff’s department has also benefited from shared manpower made available by the task force for special investigations.
“Since joining the PD, I’ve not had to use them in this capacity, but in the past the task force has helped us in clean-up of meth labs,” Holland said. “Most of us aren’t trained to deal with that, as it is an extremely technical process, and very expensive as well.”
Holland added that one of the key tasks of the program is sharing information, as the task force basically combines all area law enforcement officers into one team to fight the war on illegal drugs.