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Taylor Co. needs drug task force

A drug bust by state police four days ago at Thornton, near Grafton, that netted more than 30 pounds of marijuana and $24,000 in cash all but proves that drugs are enough of a problem in Taylor County that special attention is required.

State police of the Grafton detachment, in our opinion, did a yeomen job of culminating their ongoing investigation of several months and making an arrest at the home of the suspect. So we are in no way indicating that state police were at all lacking in their investigative skills leading up to the arrest. We are merely citing the drug heist as a reinforcement for an argument to form a drug task force in Taylor County, or even to share expenses and resources with one or more other counties.

Likewise, we are not hinting that a drug task force in a county other than Taylor, e.g., Harrison, is unable to conduct a full probe of its own to bring down those individuals who use and/or distribute drugs in that county.

While we believe there are some institutions that should maintain their separate identities without consolidating -- the field of education, for instance -- we also believe there is great effectiveness in numbers. That is, it may not be financially feasible for a county like Taylor to start its own task force at this time, but to combine with the forces of other counties, grant money would be more easily accessible.

Both Taylor County Sheriff Clark Sinclair and Grafton Chief of Police Jeff Leach are in agreement that even though that county's drug problem may be relatively small, there is still a problem, and an attempt should be made to try once again to form a task force.

We agree with Sinclair that officers who are members of a task force must be properly equipped and at least one officer should be assigned full time to the task force. We also agree that "money is definitely an issue."

As we see a bi-county or even a multi-county drug task force as a practical means of combatting the drug problem, we would hope that public officials and law enforcement officers outside of counties such as Taylor will keep an open mind on the matter and act accordingly.

Robert F. Stealey

Telegram Editorial Board chairman

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