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Commission seeking stimulus funds for Task Force

By By Kerry Whipple Bean
Federal stimulus funding could help Escambia County continue to fight the war on drugs.
The county is seeking grant funding through the stimulus act to continue operating the 21st Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, which joins law enforcement agencies throughout the county to investigate drug offenses.
Sheriff Grover Smith said the county is hoping for $265,000.
County Administrator Tony Sanks said the money is not a done deal, but he expects the county to be approved. The money would last one year, and the county could apply again for similar funding the next year.
Last year, drug task force agencies and similar law enforcement groups saw drastic cuts in aid when Congress slashed funding for a U.S. Department of Justice program that provided money for those agencies across the country.
In Escambia County, the commission stepped up last year with more funding for the program, and the Poarch Creek Indians contributed $65,000 to the task force.
Meanwhile, police departments in Atmore and Brewton continued to commit officers to work solely on drug cases to help make up for the lack of funding.
Smith and Sanks said the stimulus funding would not require any kind of local match.