Pubdate: Fri, 01 Oct 2004
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2004 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: Joe Biesk, Associated Press


FRANKFORT -- Attorney General Greg Stumbo announced Thursday he was
reorganizing his administration to create a new department called the
Kentucky Bureau of Investigation.

The KBI will, among other things, target distribution networks in the
state's illegal drug trade, Stumbo said. It will consist of units that
focus on drug investigations, public corruption and special
investigations and Medicaid and welfare fraud.

"Quite frankly, this office, in years past, didn't focus as much on
drug investigation as they did some other things, and I'm not being
critical .. ," Stumbo said. "But we're trying to turn our ship in a
little bit different direction."

During his campaign, Stumbo said he wanted to target illegal drug
pushers in Kentucky.

Stumbo appointed former Louisville police officer David James as KBI
commissioner. James will head an agency that includes 35 investigators
and managers. The department's "niche" will be attacking the illegal
drug distribution system in the state, Stumbo said.

The KBI is supposed to operate within the attorney general's office's
existing budget, Stumbo said. KBI officials also will go after
white-collar crime, Medicaid and welfare fraud and elder abuse, Stumbo

In the department's drug-fighting efforts, KBI officials will target
doctors and pharmaceutical companies that are illegally distributing
drugs, Stumbo said. The attorney general's office will also begin
prosecuting drug dealers through civil lawsuits, he said.

"In order to control the crime in Kentucky, you have to control the
drugs, and that's the bottom line," James said.

But the attorney general's office will not have enough personnel to be
effective, Lt. Gov. Steve Pence said in a phone interview. Stumbo's
plan was "more window dressing" and would only duplicate what's
already being done in the state, Pence said.

Instead, the attorney general's office should focus on prosecuting
drug dealers rather than investigating them, Pence said. The Kentucky
State Police is Kentucky's primary law enforcement agency, Pence said.

"What we do not need is another layer of law enforcement," Pence said.
"We do need law enforcement personnel, but what we do not need is
another agency."

Gov. Ernie Fletcher created the Office of Drug Control Policy in
August, which is responsible for coordinating the state's
drug-fighting efforts.

The new office will not interfere with ongoing efforts by the state
police or the Justice Cabinet, Stumbo said.

James said one of the department's first investigations would be into
the recent negotiations that led to the state's controversial 2005
health insurance plan for public school district employees and state
workers. The alleged involvement of a former insurance company
executive in the negotiations that lead to the plan "certainly raises
some concerns," James said.

Fletcher spokesman Doug Hogan called the investigation "political
grandstanding" and said there was nothing inappropriate about the
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