Sheriff Phillips briefs council on illegal drug initiative

CAMBRIDGE – During the Dorchester County Council’s meeting on Oct. 10, Sheriff James Phillips updated the public on law enforcement efforts associated with county’s designation as a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

Dorchester joined the program on Oct. 1, having been affected by the nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction.

Sheriff Phillips told the council members that his office’s anti-drug efforts have been considerably strengthened by participating, saying, “It becomes a task force on steroids.”

A statement on the program’s website said, “The HIDTA program, is a federal program administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, designed to provide resources to federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to coordinate activities to address drug trafficking in specifically designated areas of the country. The Washington/Baltimore HIDTA was designated in 1994 and serves Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, and parts of West Virginia.”

The sheriff said last year, the program seized $70 million in narcotics throughout the region. The interagency collaboration, specialized training and sharing of intelligence can bring law enforcement a high-powered boost.

Bringing in regional and federal resources gives local officers access to analysts, for instance, with a reach well beyond the county, and the ability to “just crush the entire network,” Sheriff Phillips said.

The HIDTA program is funded by federal grants administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Dorchester County’s share of the budget is $100,000.

“It looks like you got some much-needed support,” Council member Tom Bradshaw (Dist. 5) said.

For information on the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, visit www.docosheriff.com. To learn more about HIDTA, visit www.hidta.org.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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