Friday marks the end of Walker County's Narcotics Task Force. The cause of death cuts in state funding. This creates a sizeable vacancy in the county's drug-fighting arsenal. But the sheriff says his office is ready to fill those really big shoes.
After 15 years of service, the Central East Texas Narcotics Task Force is disbanding. Lack of state funding is forcing the group to close up shop. The five member team served six counties including Trinity and Walker County. So who will fill their shoes?
" The local agencies are going to have to absorb that additional work load," said Walker County Sheriff, Clint McRae.
McRae was on the drug task force for 10 years before running for sheriff. He says the team handled about 300 drug cases a year, half of those in Walker County. Now McRae says his department will have to tackle the drug issues with its current man power and funding.
" It's going to be something that we will continue to work on. We'll do our very best. We'll continue to try to curtail the narcotics problem. It's going to be a substantial work load that we're going to have to absorb, but we're going to do everything that we can," said McRae.
County officials tried to scramble and come up with the money needed to keep the drug task force team afloat, but no additional money could be found. Judge Danny Pierce says he's concerned for the future of the county.
" Our community no doubt will suffer from this. We are on a limited budget here in Walker County and law enforcement resources are pretty well stretched as it is," said Judge Pierce.
McRae established a small narcotics division at the beginning of the year and is preparing deputies to take on dual roles for a while. Even though the drug task force is gone, McRae says drug users and dealers shouldn't get too comfortable because he fully intends to stay on top of the county's drug problems.
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