June 30, 2006 -- 5:30 PM CDT
JACKSON COUNTY -- The 3rd Judicial Drug Task Force has been fighting the war on drugs for the past 16 years, but for the past two years, it has done so on significantly reduced federal funds.
"It was apparent that we could not continue with this because of the pure finance aspect of it due to the lack of federal finances," said Sheriff Dan Ellison of Lawrence County.
Sheriff Ellison said that the lack of funding forced members of the task force to disband.
"It was a financial thing," he said. "If you do not have the money to operate, you can't operate."
The 3rd Judicial Drug Task Force was comprised for four counties---Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph and Sharp. These counties will now be independent when it comes to keeping drugs off the streets.
Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas said that although the task force has ended, the willingness to fight the war on drugs has not.
"We're going to do everything in our power to not only keep the fight going that the drug task force was doing, but if all possible increase it," said Lucas.
He said the citizens in Jackson County know that there is a zero tolerance for drugs in the area.
"The citizens in this county can be assured that we're going to continue to fight against drugs," he said.
Sheriff Lucas said that the 3rd Judicial Drug Task Force lives on in the hearts of those officers who will continue to put up the fight.