Sycamore officials to pull funding for drug task force - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sycamore officials to pull funding for drug task force

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TURNER CO., GA (WALB) -

Law enforcers in Tift, Turner, and Crisp Counties are working together to keep drugs off the streets.

But on Wednesday Sycamore city officials decided to pull their funding from the Mid South Drug Task Force. Ashburn is planning to do the same thing.

Turner County Sheriff Andy Hester was surprised, but says they'll continue to fight drugs with a dedicated agent.

"I anticipate once my budget gets approved will get to keep that agent. Working for the sheriff's office serving this county and well continue to fight drugs like I always have since I've been in office," says Turner County Sheriff Andy Hester.

Ashburn, Sycamore, and Turner County shared in the cost of the task force, and have one agent that serves those areas.

Sycamore contributed about $5,000 in funding, and Ashburn nearly $30,000.

Sheriff Hester plans to take on that cost because he feels the task force, which has been in place since early 2000 is effective.

"That task force brings a lot of equipment and a lot of man power and a lot of knowledge. The commander up there has a lot of experience with working drugs and making things work right and that's what I want done in Turner County," says Hester.

Sycamore Police Chief Lee Ann Clark told me over the phone the task force wasn't working many cases in Sycamore, and city leaders feel the money could be used for new equipment and possible pay raises.

Sheriff Hester said they are working cases in Sycamore, but just aren't involving Chief Clark.

"We didn't involve the police chief down there in those decisions because of some credibility issues with the chief down there and some of the things she's been involved in the past and discipline for and we didn't feel comfortable telling her about cases we were working down there," says Hester.

Chief Clark admitted she is on probation, and was terminated while working in Ashburn.

She says her department will work to keep drugs out of Sycamore.

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