Local Law Enforcment Could Feel Sting of Bush's Program Cuts - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Local Law Enforcment Could Feel Sting of Bush's Program Cuts

February 8, 2006 – Posted at 4:28 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR – President Bush's budget cuts may be hitting close to home for Arkansas Law Enforcement. The proposed cuts could severe funding for meth lab cleanup across the state and mean less money to fight the war on drugs in Region 8.

“I think it's pretty safe to say that a large portion of our criminal activity has at least some association with drug use. whether it's the trafficking of drugs or just the use of it, so generally one can say if you attack the drug problem there is an effect on all the other crime issues that we have,” said Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates.

The fight against drugs is a top priority for the Jonesboro Police Department. But potential cuts could pose a problem.

“We're just going to have to wait and see where we actually wind up and we will develop strategies to deal with,” said Yates.

The anti-meth program gets $417 million dollars nationally, last year Arkansas received $3 million dollars of that money. JPD and drug task force participate in what is called the "Burn Grant." Money earmarked has been on a reduction cycle and phased out in many departments across the country. But Chief Yates says it won't stop them from fighting crime.

“The impact could be essentially that we have less federal money to direct toward our drug enforcement problems, but from our perspective at the police department and the city's end of it we're going continue the drug enforcement efforts whether we're funded federally or not,” said Yates.

The cuts could run deep across the county... Missouri had the highest number of meth lab seizures last year with 2,707.

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