Lauderdale Sheriff wants additional staff for drug task force

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Fighting illegal drug activity is a costly proposition for local law enforcement across the valley.

They normally work in the shadows, developing leads to arrest drug dealers.

With budget cuts to state offices like the district attorney’s office, the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force has dwindled in participating agencies and agents.

Florence Police Department has three full-time members; the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department has one.

Sheriff Rick Singleton said he wants to change that, “We got a drug problem out in the county. We need enforcement out there, which means we need manpower. One deputy assigned to work drugs in Lauderdale County is not sufficient.”

Before he took office Singleton presented a long-range goal to the Lauderdale County Commission. On the list is adding a second full-time deputy to work drug cases.

According to Singleton, a lot of the drug task force’s focus is on building cases against middle to upper level distributors. He said that leaves the neighborhood dealers running wide open. He plans to get aggressive in dealing with.

“Anybody that thinks they got a drug dealer in their community they need to let us know so we can go after them,” stated Singleton. “And we intend to go after them. But, with the resources we have there is a limit on what we are going to be able to do.”

A school resource officer has been temporarily assigned to help in the drug fight over the summer, but Singleton would like to make the appointment permanent in the near future.

Sheriff Singleton said his department is also developing an aggressive plan to have deputies go after neighborhood drug dealers. He plans to launch those plans in addition to adding a second drug task force agent.