Pubdate: Wed, 07 Nov 2001
Source: Kentucky Post (KY)
Copyright: 2001 Kentucky Post
Author: Shelly Whitehead


Agreement Would Allow For Additional Personnel

The Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force is expanding its range beyond the 
initial three Northern Kentucky counties in response to needs expressed 
from some outlying areas for drug investigation and enforcement.

The eight-person agency is seeking approval from commissioners in Boone, 
Kenton and Campbell counties for a modified inter-local agreement that 
makes it easier for the strike force to investigate illegal drug activity 
in areas beyond the three counties.

The new agreement also makes it easier for outlying police forces to 
contribute manpower to the force.

Three months ago, the Grant County sheriff assigned one of his deputies to 
work as a full-time strike force agent in exchange for coverage in that county.

''Grant County ... contributed one agent and some additional resources ... 
and we've already had inquiries from another county,'' said Strike Force 
Executive Director Jim Paine.

''It does help because our drug problems aren't confined to the three 
counties. They go into Ohio and they come here, and it's the same with the 
counties south of us.''

Currently, the strike force is made up of eight agents contributed by the 
Boone County and Grant County sheriff's departments and Kenton County, 
Campbell County and Covington police departments.

Paine said the team covers illegal drug activity in four counties with a 
combined population of about 350,000 people, a ratio that he says is 
woefully insufficient to address the problem.

''We've been working a lot of overtime in the last six months. ... 
Everybody is putting in overtime. ... So, as we grow and take on more 
responsibility those issues will have to be addressed by the fiscal 
courts,'' he said.

Paine said he hopes ultimately to double the agencies staff size to 15 
full-time agents.

The drug investigation unit receives 75 percent of its operating funds 
through an annual state-administered federal grant, which he said was 
designed to act as seed money to establish the agency.

He said the agency hopes to secure other sources of long-term funding in 
the near future.
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