Drug task force takes more cases with fewer agents

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

State budget cuts weaken agency after rise in cases

The Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force handled 265 cases in 2014 in Barry and McDonald counties, and part of Lawrence County, compared with 240 cases in 2013, when it had more agents.

"The years before that, we've had as high as 400 cases, but we had five to six agents working with us, and we had a secretarial staff," said John Luckey, Task Force director.

The Task Force had its building taken away, and its budget was cut, Luckey said.

"It has been a crazy, downward spiral with budget cuts," he said.

Luckey has been with the task force since 2007. He took over as director in 2011.

The Task Force operates solely from government and state grants, according to the Barry County Sheriff's Office, which is a member of the state agency.

"Due to the economy, most of the funding has been cut or greatly reduced," according to a release from the Sheriff's Office. "In 2009, the Task Force started accepting donations from the public to help with the loss of grant funding."

If anyone would like to donate, they may contact the Sheriff's Office at 417-847-6556, or the Task Force at 417-847-5010.

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