Friday, October 15, 2004

Task force scandals mar D's stance

I noted earlier that drug task forces across the country are rife with corruption, despite the Kerry/Edwards desire to continue their funding in the face of utter mission failure. But it seems like there's always more.

An Indiana task force chief pled guilty recently to stealing drugs, $9,000, and a firearm from the task force, 13 counts in all. A judge revoked his bond and issued an arrest warrant when he failed to show up for a sentencing hearing.

A father-son officer team at the Butler County task force in Kansas based in El Dorado have been suspended (from two different employing agencies). The Kansas Bureau of Investigation was called in to examine possible criminal charges. "From the city's standpoint, we wanted an outside agency to look into some things we were not comfortable with in the task force," [El Dorado city manager] Collins said earlier. "The KBI was the logical choice, so I instructed Chief Boren to make the request. We felt a third party would be the best way to do this." The father has resigned. The article says the incident may result in the task force being disbanded altogether.

As another task force sex harassment case ramps up in New Mexico, an older incident in Kentucky winds to a close. The New Era newspaper litigated to open the contents of a sex harassment settlement involving the Penryville narcotics task force commander. The task force commander allegedly sexually harassed a task force employee in the Kentucky case, while the New Mexico case involved a confidential informant.

Meanwhile, John Edwards criticized Bush this week for trying to cut Byrne grant funding that goes to drug task forces, even though that's exactly the right thing to do! (See the Edwards link in the blog below.) One has to wonder whether the Dems are ignorant or opportunistic on this score. A massive wave of scandals have heaped disapprobation on the Byrne program these last five years, and its hard to imagine a well-intentioned person could continue to take that stance if they knew the history. On the other hand, no American politician has been harmed for demagoguing about drugs in the last three decades. Perhaps they're cynically relying on that fact to skate by on a bad position.

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