Friday, December 03, 2004

Officer Objects to Judge's Comments

A narcotics officer left a message in the comments section of a previous Grits post, that itself was a followup to this item. At issue was this quote in an email from an East Texas jurist:
"While I am against task forces generally because of the severe lack of supervision and the questionable tactics that I've observed, I am not for turning down Texas' share of Byrne grant funds. Those funds need to be used for treatment centers and for drug courts to try the major offenders, not these little eight-ball cases."
From Grits' perspective, that's a very sensible position. I replied to the officer, and decided to pull both comments into their own post. I inserted a couple of paragraph breaks into the officer's missive for readability, but otherwise left both unedited. The officer appears to be addressing the judge, not me, but hell, whose blog is it, anyway?

Dear Sir or Madam,

I have read your comments and have many concerns that arise from your comments. I have several questions for you to help me understand your position on drug task forces.

One comment that was made,"Those funds need to be used for treatment centers and for drug courts to try the major offenders, not these little eight-ball cases." I have been enforcing narcotics laws in Texas for nine years. Of these nine years of enforcing these laws, the people that have completed a treatment for narcotics and have stayed off the substance for a lifetime is by far a minority.

Secondly, how many police departments and sheriffs offices do you know that can dedicate the man power to catch the "major offenders" that you have mentioned? I know of none. The Task Forces were originated to assist rural law enforcement with ongoing problem of narcoitcs in their coverage areas. In some towns that are covered by Task Forces there is little to no law enforcement, other than maybe one patrol officer on patrol. The reason there are these "little eight-ball" cases in your court is due to a Task Force doing what was requested by a membering agency. Put your self in an administrators shoes, complaints are coming in from concerned citizens about an area of drug sales. The adminstrator does not have the man power that is trained in this area, nor have the financial backing for the training, specialized equipment, buy money, paying informants etc. I know you have concerns and ideas to address these problems and I would encourage you to speak to the administration of a Task Force in your area. It just is a scare to think that someone of such a high position doesn't realize the impact that your comments could make on counties and communities throughout or State.

I know that there are some Task Forces that may have been poorly supervised, but as a whole these operations have seized literally thousands of pounds of narcotics and have assisted our communities in keeping our children away from a dead end road. I would be willing to speak to you personally in an effort to make sure you have all the facts, not just a headline from a bad apple!


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