The governor was in the area on Monday to sign a drug bill drafted by Rep. Todd Novak and Rep. Travis Tranel and co-sponsored by Sen. Howard Marklein giving Lafayette County a $70,000 grant. The Assembly Bill 771 gives $20,000 in 2016 and $50,000 in 2017 to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Dept. to use for drug enforcement in the county and can be used for the county to join a drug task force. There are two drug task forces in the area with Richland-Iowa-Grant or the Stateline Drug, which includes Green County.
Rep. Novak stated that the reason he ran for office was to help fight rural crime and drug use.
“I believe it’s important to give law enforcement the tools they need to fight this ongoing problem,” Novak wrote.
In order for the county to belong to a drug task force, it must be able to provide a dedicated full or part time officer. Lafayette County has belonged to a drug task force in the past but had to drop out because they no longer could afford an officer in the budget.
Drug Task forces are instrumental in fighting the growing dangers of heroin and other drugs that are becoming a major problem in rural areas. Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill hopes to place a full time deputy into this position into one of the area task forces.
“It will not only allow for that deputy to concentrate on drug investigations, but will also bring the added resources of the task force alongside to further assist us,” Gill stated.
Gov. Walker sees this force helping combat the drug problem before it even starts.
“Heroin in particular has increasingly become a problem in rural areas all across America,” Walker commented.
Novak added that without belonging to a task force or even having a dedicated officer to work on drug related issues; Lafayette County has become isolated and needs help. As the flow of drugs comes into the county, they really have no avenue for assistance to stem the tide.
Sheriff Gill said, “We will also be supplementing our training budget to provide further drug investigation training for our current detectives.”