A local drug task force is about to lose federal funding for their program that helps bust meth labs. The federal government has said it will no longer fund the Missouri Sheriff Methamphetamine Action Relief Team. (MoSmart).
If no other funding opportunities become available, here locally, the North Missouri Drug Task Force will have to cut two positions: its Methamphetamine detective and analyst. The director of the program said the MoSmart detective and analyst positions are critical to their operations and have helped the task force bring down more than 143 meth labs in the past three years. Considering that the task force works in twelve counties in Northern Missouri, the director said it would be extremely difficult to keep up that track record without them.
"We can get out there and actually find out information that uniform officers aren't able to find out because of the position they're in," said Capt. Chris Brown, the Director of the North Missouri Drug Task Force. "It has worked as a cooperative effort with law enforcement. If that goes away, who knows what's going to happen. As our funding gets decreased, our operations get decreased."
Brown said meth labs and other narcotics can damage and affect an entire community.
"When you have drugs and illegal narcotics going on in a community, you have burglaries, you have thefts, you have assaults, you have child endangerment. These people are neglecting their kids. They're leaving the stuff out for their kids to get into. It doesn't just stay within the drug community."
The North Missouri Drug Task Force has four detectives on the task force and one analyst. If they do not get any new funding by Dec. 31, the task force will be reduced to three detectives. Brown said they need about $85,000 to fund the two MoSmart positions. Across Missouri, Brown said at least 27 MoSmart detectives could lose their jobs.