Sheriff Invests Seized Drug Money Back Into Fight Against Drugs, Discusses Drug Task Force Two Years Removed
Darren Doyle, story:
Since leaving the Barren River Drug Task Force in September of 2014, the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office has been under the magnifying glass by some and has been asked the question, "Can you really fight drugs here without being in the Drug Task Force?"
The county exited the DTF under the direction of then Sheriff Wil Cannon, now Judge Executive, who went on record saying he felt like the large majority of drug arrests in the county were being made by his office. He wanted to leave the DTF, take the money the county was spending on a DTF officer's salary and other resources (he said between $45K and $60K per year), and invest it solely in a local officer that wouldn't have to be shared with two other counties.
The fiscal court voted to leave the DTF and the Sheriff's Office did exactly what Cannon had suggested under the leadership Sheriff Shane Doyle, who took office in January of 2015.
"The officers that worked through the task force did a good job while they were here, but since we departed from the organization, we feel that we have better officers who have a better understanding of our county and the culture that comes with it," said Doyle.
He also said that having educated and trained local deputies allow his department to better focus on the issues in Edmonson County.
"We don't have to share our officers with other counties and deal with issues that aren't related to our problems here. Our office is working harder than ever to fight drugs in Edmonson County and we're getting results. We now have the obvious benefit of keeping all the drug asset forfeitures here. We invest it back into our program for better equipment and resources for our own people to fight the drugs that affect our own people."
So, what's the difference? Doyle said being able to keep drug asset forfeitures in the county has allowed his office to purchase new surveillance equipment, new computers, vehicle equipment, tasers, radios, and training classes.
He said the total amount of seized money that came back to the sheriff's office from 2005-2014 was only $6,000; however, this year alone has brought in over $18,000; 85% of which stays with his office, the rest goes to the state.
Doyle said his office has recently been able to use the funds to invest in new backup weapons for his entire team, something that simply would not have been possible before.
The addition of a new K-9 unit, "Tango," has already yielded several drug arrests. Although Tango was purchased through community and business donations, the sheriff said it's just another example of how local resources work better when they stay in-county.
"I'm not sure if people thought we wouldn't or couldn't make drug arrests if we left the DTF, but the truth is, this office has always been effective with fighting drugs," he said. "We don't have any problem with the DTF, as it's a necessary organization. We just felt that we could do better concentrating our resources here instead of pooling them, and that's proven out. We're still not satisfied because we still have drugs here, so there's nowhere to stop, but we'll keep on fighting them."