SWMO Drug Task Force receives grant

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force was one of several agencies to receive a Department of Public Safety grant this week to help combat the use of illegal drugs and related crimes.

The task force, which serves Barry, Lawrence and McDonald counties, received $165,488 in funding designed to assist agencies during this tight budget time.

"These funds will help our local task force to continue operations and fund investigations," said Tracy Holle, who helped prepare this year's grant request. "It was very critical. At one time, we didn't know if we were going to make the 25 percent local match required by the grant. McDonald County Sheriff Rob Evenson came up with the funding in the last hour."

During this time of economic hardship, many local entities that usually assist with the 25 percent matching funds were unable to do so for this grant cycle.

"Funding is getting tighter," Holle said. "Our biggest problem this year was cities that had participated in the past were not able to do so this year because of their own budget constraints."

The local task force has five full-time agents with one specifically trained to take down and handle the hazardous materials commonly associated with methamphetamine labs.

Other area agencies that received funding included the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team (COMET) and the Stone County Prosecutor's Drug and Alcohol Offender Program.

The $165,488 federal grant came from the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.

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