Pubdate: Wed, 26 May 2004
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2004 Amarillo Globe-News
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)


Potter County left with no choice.

The aftershocks of the controversial 1999 Tulia drug sting continue to
rattle in Amarillo. Left with few alternatives, Potter County commissioners
unanimously approved Monday a resolution for a grant application to the
Governor's Criminal Justice Division.

The grant will partially fund the salary for an assistant district attorney
whose sole responsibility is the prosecution of drug offenses and also pay
for training for the sheriff's department to handle the cleanup of
methamphetamine labs. This is the cost of doing business these days when
those ultimately responsible for wrongdoing are not as accountable as those
culpable in name only.

The travesty in Tulia led to the demise of the Panhandle Regional Narcotics
Trafficking Task Force, which in turn left counties such as Potter County
out in the cold when it comes to money the PRNTTF previously allocated for
drug enforcement.

If Potter County wants to maintain its current level of law enforcement,
then the county is left with little choice but to seek the aforementioned
grants, and unfortunately, shift more of the cost onto taxpayers.

County Judge Arthur Ware quizzed 47th District Attorney Rebecca King on
where the money would come from for the county's portion of the matching
grant - $43,082 for the assistant district attorney salary for two years and
$7,500 for meth lab cleanup training.

It's a valid question, one that commissioners will have to answer at budget

However, commissioners did what was necessary to provide adequate law
enforcement even though the county played no direct role in the Tulia

As Commissioner Joe Kirkwood said: "The drug problem is not going away." And
neither, it seems, is the fallout from the Tulia drug sting.
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