Joined by police chiefs from around Herkimer County, State Senator James L. Seward today announced a $50,000 grant to develop a collaborative anti-drug police task force in Herkimer County. Seward unveiled the funding at a press conference at the Ilion Police Department.
"The sheriff and local police chiefs are concerned about growing drug traffic in Herkimer County," Seward said. "They approached me to discuss state assistance to develop a narcotics task force among cooperating municipal police departments and the sheriff. I applaud their concern and their desire to work together to shut down illicit drug production and sales in the county, and that's why I am glad the state could help out."
Participating agencies include the police departments of Ilion, Herkimer, Mohawk, Dolgeville, Frankfort, Little Falls, Towns of Webb and Frankfort, the county sheriff and Herkimer County Community College Campus Safety. Funding will purchase start up equipment, office expenses, fuel and some personnel costs.
"All of us are experiencing a dramatic rise in the use, sale, and now with the rise in popularity of methamphetamine, the manufacture of meth in all of our communities.This increase in the drug problem in our communities is overtaxing our personnel and resources," wrote the police chiefs to Seward earlier this year.
Each department will provide manpower and pay some of the expenses of an officer while working on the task force. Sheriff Chris Farber will provide office space for the task force and his investigator will oversee the unit.
The senate Republican majority passed several initiatives to address the illicit production of methamphetamine. The most comprehensive is a bill that cracks down on the production of dangerously addictive methamphetamines by establishing tough criminal penalties for possessing the materials used to make meth and operating the laboratories used to manufacture the drug (S. 5920 -- signed into law).
"The result of this task force will be safer communities for our kids, schools and families," Seward said. "I applaud the chiefs and the sheriff."
The funding was allocated in the 2005-2006 state budget under the Justice Assistance Grant program, which utilizes federal Edward Byrne funding. The grant will be administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.