In a press release, Gov. Bob Riley said, “The funding will support a number of multi-jurisdictional drug and violent crime task forces and a criminal information clearing house. The task forces conduct undercover operations to arrest and prosecute drug offenders, find and dismantle methamphetamine laboratories and assist with other violent crime investigations.”
While the Talladega grant was the largest to a drug task force in the state, it still represents less than half of the task force budget. The remainder is supplied by the Talladega County Commission and all of the municipalities within the county, and from private donations.
According to Riley, the total ADECA expenditure for drug enforcement for the state is $1.86 million. The next largest, after Talladega County, will pass through the Anniston City Council to the Calhoun/Cleburne Task Force, according to the release.
Last year, the task force was able to benefit from a $475,000 grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but those funds are not available this year.
The Talladega County Task Force is led by Commander Jason Murray, who answers to Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens. It consists of a dozen officers from every law enforcement agency in the county, and has officers on call 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Most recently, the Talladega County Task Force successfully carried out “Operation Scrooge,” which led to more than 40 felony drug arrests last week. There are still 20 or so individuals on the list who will be served with warrants as soon as they are caught.
Although the bulk of the task force’s funding comes from public agencies, they also welcome donations from corporate and private benefactors.
For more information, please contact Murray at 256-480-6511 or Giddens at 256-362-2036.