• 81°

County approves matching funds for DTF grant

The Covington County Commission approved matching funds for an annual grant funding the 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force during a special called meeting Thursday.

Commissioners voted unanimously to match the funds provided by an annual grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), but chairman Bill Godwin said the specific dollar amount has not been determined.

Covington County Sheriff Dennis Meeks said the county’s portion of the funds are compiled from all agencies that support the DTF by providing manpower, including the sheriff’s department, the Opp Police Department, the Andalusia Police department and the district attorney’s office.

Meeks said the annual grant is important because it allows the DTF to operate throughout the year.

“We’ve had the task force since 1998,” Meeks said. “It keeps each agency from having to do their own drug work. It’s multi-agency drug task force and we’re able to work throughout the county and in the municipalities.”

Currently, Meeks said, the DTF is made up of three agents – two from the sheriff’s department and one from OPD – but added a fourth agent will likely be added over the next few weeks.

“We have three agents right now,” he said. “Andalusia pulled out in the mid-to-latter part of 2013, but they have come back in and that will put us up to four agents again. We’re hoping to add a fifth member sometime in the near future to get us up to five members, and we’ll be up to force. Hopefully, that will happen between now and next year.”

Meeks said, while the official price tag for this year has not come in, the DTF is an invaluable county resource.

“It’s really worked out good for us,” he said. “Those guys work hard and do a good job. Having a DTF that works together is just a lot better than each agency trying to do it on its own.”