Riley Awards $145,000 to Drug Task Force

Published 3:23 pm Monday, October 3, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
Gov. Bob Riley has awarded $145,000 to help continue the fight against illegal drugs in Escambia County.
The 21st Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force will use the grant to continue its work investigating, arresting and prosecuting drug offenders in Escambia County.
"Illegal drugs breed crime and violence, and those who distribute them must be caught and taken off the streets," Riley said. "I am pleased to join the drug task force in sending the message that illegal drugs will not be tolerated in our communities."
According to Escambia County Sheriff, Grover Smith, the county receives this grant yearly, however, this year's funds have been cut down to the bare minimum. Last year's grant was for $210,000, which was drastically dropped by $70,000 this year.
"The four agencies that participate are having to make up the difference of $70,000," he said.
The task force was created to combine the investigative resources of the district attorney's office, the county sheriff's department and the police departments of Atmore, Brewton, East Brewton and Flomaton. Its goals are to disrupt drug organizations operating in Escambia County, coordinate data and information about drug activities among law enforcement agencies and prosecute sellers and users of drugs.
Task force officials say they plan to devote much of the unit's resources to combating the
Illegal use and distribution of prescription medication in the next 12 months. In the same time frame, agents say they expect to initiate 200 drug cases.
Riley awarded the grant from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the grant.
"The grant will be used as a continuation of our Drug Task force work with the Brewton, Atmore and the District Attorney's office." Smith said.
Bill Johnson, ADECA acting director, notified Escambia County Commission Chairman Larry White of the grant's approval. Local matching funds of $145,000 have been committed to the task force.

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