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Working With Rural Drug Units

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 51 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2003 Pages: 189-191
Russell Schanlaub
Date Published
October 2003
3 pages
This article profiles multijurisdictional drug units as the most effective means of investigating drug cases in rural areas.
Because many small rural police agencies do not have the personnel or funding to commit a specially trained officer full time to drug law enforcement, other means must be used to conduct drug investigations in rural areas. In 1988 the Federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act created the Byrne Formula Grant Program. Funding under this program has assisted in developing several hundred drug units. Rural areas that had never had a specialized investigation unit found themselves with drug task forces and enforcement groups to follow up on drug-related tips. Byrne will fund 75 percent of a multijurisdictional drug unit, with the remaining 25 percent funded by local government units. In the past 15 years, these drug units have forged working relationships with one another and have the capacity to network across city, county, and State lines. Most multijurisdictional drug units are composed of officers from various agencies within their respective enforcement areas. Additionally, many of the units have State and Federal officers attached to them. The variety of agencies represented offers a larger pool of resources for drug investigations. Resources include more intelligence and access to information as well as equipment and personnel. The effectiveness of multijurisdictional task forces is enhanced by involving patrol officers in their work. This includes informing patrol officers about drug-related activities in their patrol areas and instructing them in what they should watch for and when and how they should contact the drug unit. The multijurisdictional drug units are also well served by forging a liaison with local police administrators that will lead to the sharing of resources and information.


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