DTF gets $265K grant

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force received $265,000 in economic stimulus funds Wednesday, money that law enforcement officials said will help the DTF accomplish its mission of eradicating drugs from Covington County.

Members of the DTF investigate, arrest and prosecute traffickers and users of illegal drugs. They also seek out and destroy laboratories used to “cook” drugs like methamphetamine.

In Covington County, members of the Covington County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s office and the Andalusia and Opp police departments make up the DTF. The cities of Florala, Lockhart, Red Level and River Falls provide logistical support.

“This money will help fund the day-to-day operations of the task force,” said DTF commander Mark Odom. “It’s important because it allows us to not only fight drugs, but also continue drug education in the county. In addition to going into the schools and telling kids about the dangers of drugs, members of the DTF also help teach other police departments about how to work drug labs and things like that.”

Odom said the DTF has been “very successful” since its formation in 2000.

Gov. Bob Riley, who notified County Chairman Lynn Sasser of the funds, said the money will go a long way toward fighting drug crime in Alabama.

“Drug dealers bring more than illegal substances into a community, they also bring more crime and increased violence,” he said in a release. “I commend the members of the Covington task force for getting these dangerous criminals off the streets.”

The Escambia County DTF also received $265,000 in funding Wednesday.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.