Narcotics Task Force Loses Federal Funding

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

The Brazos Valley Narcotics Task Force faces an uncertain future. The group, made up of peace officers from Brazos, Grimes, Madison and Burleson Counties, have worked side-by-side waging war on drugs, but their fight is about to end due to a loss of federal funding.

"This all ends in March which is right in the middle of a fiscal year for the counties and the cities so its impossible to find another funding source," said Sheriff Chris Kirk of Brazos County.

Since the late 1980's the group has relied on the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant to pay for majority of its operations, including salaries. With that money gone, so is most of the payroll for task force members.

"We've got 10 or 11 full-time positions and one part-time position that in the middle of a budget year we will not be able to step up and fund," said Kirk.

Task force officials were told the current system would be replaced with something else, but no one knows what that will consist of or what it will mean on the local level. Sheriff Kirk says with everything up in the air planning for the future is impossible.

"We have to have more information, we have to know what these federal initiatives are going to be so we can then adapt to those here locally," said Kirk.

Sheriff Kirk says it's the rural areas that will suffer the most from the loss of the task force. In fact, its past success makes authorities a little hesitant to throw in the towel.

"The task force concept works, especially in our four county area so its something that we would like to see continue," said Kirk.

The Brazos Valley isn't alone, all similar task forces throughout the state are struggling to stay afloat. While drug fighters have persevered in the past, this may be the fatal crack in the armor dope dealers have long hoped for.

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