Grant brings #036;240,000

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 1999

to combat drugs


Staff Writer

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Published Oct. 5, 1999

Area law enforcement officers are getting help in their war on drugs from a continuing grant.

Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman announced that the $240,000 grant to the Pike County Commission will provide for the continued operation of the12th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force.

The drug task force operates in Pike and Coffee counties. It is a multi-agency operation involving the Pike and Coffee County Sheriffs’ departments, local municipal law enforcement, the District Attorney Mark Fuller’s office and state and federal agencies.

The grant awarded by Siegelman will help fund two prosecutors, six full-time investigators and a fully trained drug dog, said Seth Gowan, spokesman for Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

The task force expects to prosecute more than 300 drug offense cases and to reduce the drug problem by half in the two-county area, Gowan said.

In Pike County, the work of the Drug Task Force leads to the prosecution of more than 100 drug cases each year, said Sheriff Russell Thomas.

"This is a continuing grant we’ve had for several years," Thomas said. "Initially, it allowed us to put the Drug Task Force together.

"This money allows the task force to continue to operate."

He said the cooperative effort among his department, the Troy Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies who are members of the Drug Task Force is very beneficial.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage said his department is also a member of the task force.

"These funds will be utilized in the overall objective of ridding our community of drugs," he said.

Both Everage and Thomas said they appreciate the work of Rep. Alan Boothe (D-Troy) in securing the grant.

The award, a renewal of the Edward Byrne Formula Grant, is made available by Congress through the U.S. Department of Justice, Gowan said. In Alabama, these grants are administered by ADECA.