Pubdate: Sat, 08 Mar 2003
Source: Daily Mountain Eagle (Jasper, AL)
Copyright: 2003 Daily Mountain Eagle
Author: Elane Jones
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Congress has approved funding that will be used to crack down on
methamphetamine-related crimes and abuse in Walker, Etowah, Marshall and
Cullman counties.

Walker County Sheriff John Mark Tirey said he is extremely proud that Walker
County will receive a part of the $750,000 in funding, but he wishes it
could have been a long-term thing.

""This funding was strictly put in the Congressional budget, and Congressman
Robert Aderholt got it approved, to help us fight the crystal
methamphetamine problem," Tirey said. "But I wish it had been long-term, so
we could employ more agents to work the problem. You can't employ people on
short-term funding, because when it's gone, it's gone.

"We have not yet received all the actual paperwork regarding the funding and
what exactly it can be used for, but it is my understanding that we'll be
able to use it to purchase equipment and other items to use in our fight
against the illegal drug, methamphetamine," he said.

Tirey said he believes the reason these four counties were probably chosen
is because they keep up with the problem statistically.

"Our statistics are way up because we've been aggressively working on this
problem," Tirey said. "I think that's the reason these four counties were
chosen. We'll be using the money to purchase equipment to help us do an even
better job."

Tirey said one thing he is questioned extensively about in the community is
whether or not Walker County's drug problem was worse than anywhere else.

"I don't think our problem is worse, I just think we've recognized the
problem," Tirey said. "We've brought it to the forefront, so the public has
a view of what we're doing. Had we not taken such an aggressive position on
this problem, we'd be in terrible shape."

Tirey said a lot of folks don't realize illegal drug trade has the largest
impact on property crime and violent crimes than anything.

"When the drug trade becomes so common and proliferates so much, burglaries
increase, thefts increase and violence increases, such as shootings,
stabbings, and assaults, because folks on drugs are constantly seeking ways
to get their fix or high," Tirey said. "One reason violent crime is down
significantly in Walker County is because we have taken such an aggressive
approach on this matter. If we hadn't done that, you'd be sitting up at
night guarding your valuables and you probably wouldn't want to live here."
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