Pubdate: 24 May 1999
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 1999, New Haven Register
Author: Lolita C. Baldor


WASHINGTON - While the Air National Guard unit from Orange took center
stage last week with its Kosovo call-up, officers from another
Connecticut Guard program slipped quietly into Washington for some

The group belonged to the Guard's counter-drug program, and they came
armed with distorted vision goggles that mimicked how a person's sight
is impaired when on drugs.

The display was part of an effort to snag more federal funding for
drug-fighting programs.

Connecticut's team includes 21 full-time members who work on both law
enforcement and drug education for young people. This year's budget is
about $950,000, but the proposed funding for next year is only about

"We're only going to win this (drug) war by educating young people,"
said Lt. Col. Ronald J.

Renski, coordinator of the counter-drug program. "We need (more
funding) so I can keep the people I hired."

Most full-time members of the program concentrate on the drug
enforcement side, although during the summer the education program
grows, with a number of volunteers participating in various youth and
camp programs.

Guard members on the enforcement side work with the FBI and other
agencies on research, intelligence gathering, and searching the banana
boats from Central and South American that come into Connecticut ports.
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