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Federal Cuts would put Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force at Risk

Fighting crime and drug lords in West Kentucky is a major responsibility for the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force.

Under the President’s plan, the operating budget for the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force will take a 75 % cut.

The Task Force is currently in its 20th year of operation and is now comprised of 16 counties covering Western Kentucky. Their area includes some 340,000 people.

The counties now include:  Christian, Caldwell, Muhlenberg, Todd, Trigg, Hopkins, Webster, Lyon, Livingston, Crittenden, Calloway, Marshall, Graves, Fulton, Hickman and Carlisle. In the near future, Davies, McCracken, Monroe, and Cumberland Counties may join the Task Force.

The mission of the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force is to support the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy’s strategy of reducing drug use in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. To measurably reduce and disrupt the importation, distribution, and clandestine manufacturing of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs in the Pennyrile region and other parts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky; thereby, reducing the impact of illegal drugs and related violent criminal activity which address the need to increase the safety of the citizens of Kentucky.

To support federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, particularly in rural communities where resources and manpower are always scarce, through sharing resources, education, information sharing and working cooperatively to identify, arrest, and prosecute key members of illegal drug trafficking organizations as well as related money laundering operations.

To assist statewide and community anti-drug coalitions in educating the Pennyrile region’s youth, families, and other at risk groups regarding the consequences of methamphetamine and other illegal drug use. This mission will be accomplished through a unified Law Enforcement effort and Community Cooperation which will improve the quality of life in the Pennyrile region and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

These are all powerful and important goals for the local governments in West Kentucky to meet in efforts to ensure the safety and welfare of all citizens of West Kentucky. Budget battles over crime will be an important test as to how much state and federal leaders want to protect against drugs in our communities. 

The Task Force consists of Director Cheyenne K. Albro, a deputy director, a chief detective, three office personnel, and ten detectives. Cheyenne Albro is also the President of Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association.

In Albro's words “This budget cut would be devastating to our command. We will survive, barely. However, for many of the small Drug Task Forces in Kentucky, they will have to shut down. This will be a tremendous loss to our ability to fight crime in rural areas of Western Kentucky”

One example of how the Task Force works is to look at the small town of Clinton, Kentucky. The town has a population of 900 and is county seat to Hickman County. The 2008 population of Hickman County is 4,950.
In this small town, at the extreme edge of Kentucky where the Mississippi River is the western border of the county, the local police use the staff and expertise of the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force to help set up drug buys, make arrests and prosecute meth drug lords. 

The Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force embraces an area that is  almost 300 miles wide. This is a rural region with rural small town police forces. The Task Force is heavily involved in adding these small offices with help in stopping meth labs. Last year, this unit was involved with 195 meth lab cases. 
If the President gets his way, fighting crime and drug lords will be much harder to do in West Kentucky.

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