Drug unit future unclear - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Drug unit future unclear

February 22, 2007

Cairo -- Less than a month ago the commander of the Southwest Georgia Drug Task Force that covers Grady, Mitchell, and Baker counties, resigned his post.
Other agents have also left, leaving the force not fully staffed.

Members of the executive board in charge of the task force says its business as usual, but Grady county's sheriff worries serious changes lie ahead.

Sheriff Harry Young says the joint drug task force that serves Grady county has been extremely successful for them, especially lately. "Since January 1 we've had five Meth labs that we've busted so, and quite a few arrests."

Seventeen in fact, just in Grady County. But despite all the work to be done the sheriff says they've had to stall on some of the cases they're looking at.  "There's some problems right now in the Drug Task Force, far as getting enough people manning the staff up like it should be."

Right now there are only four people on the team that covers Grady, Mitchell, and Baker counties. The sheriff says there should be eight or nine.

 "It's a very demanding job being a drug task force officer because they work, a lot of times all night long," said the sheriff. "Sometimes two days in a row without any sleep at all, and its hard to find someone to be that dedicated."

Members of the executive board say besides doing background checks for some prospective new agents, no changes have been discussed. But Sheriff Young worries the force could be disbanded.  "It would be a sad occasion in this county without them, because I don't have enough deputies to have a regular drug task force."

He says without a drug task force, drugs would run rampant in Grady county.  "That's our number one priority in the sheriff's office, is to address the drug problem in this county, keep it safe."

For now, he waits and hopes nothing will interfere with that goal.

Sheriff Young says the grand jury will meet in March to discuss any possible changes to the Southwest Georgia drug task force.

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