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Chief Worries About War On Drugs, Declining Funds

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - The Lauderdale County Drug Task Force has a big job to do.  However with even more funds slashed from the operating budget than expected, area law enforcement agencies worry about the drug problem exploding.

In August, the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force made a big dent in the growing drug problem during "Operation Groomsmen.”

Now Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler worries, the drug dealers will make a comeback again.

“We could take the full time employees to the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force and designate them solely to the meth problem in the City of Florence and Lauderdale County and still not get the job done,” said Tyler.

In the undercover raid, nearly 40 known drug dealers were arrested and thousands of dollars got confiscated from the streets.

But this year the task force only has $70,000 thousand dollars to operate.

That's down from $120,000 in 2012.  According to the chief, with that budget, the task force can't afford such big projects.

“It just seems like we are always robbing Peter to pay Paul.  We are taking from one pot of money for law enforcement and we give it to something else,” said Tyler.

Now the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force must ask other agencies like the District Attorneys office and Sheriff’s Office to help make up the deficit.

“There`s just a limited amount of resources, and we have to be real creative on how we split that up and assign priorities,” said Tyler.

According to Chief Tyler, the drug task force should be a top funding priority because drugs have a ripple effect throughout the entire community.

Tyler says he expects declining funds for the drug task force to be the grim reality for future years too.