Federal budget cuts affecting local drug task forces

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DURANT, Okla. -- A major cut in funding for criminal justice programs nationwide could affect the community you live in. The cut in funding means many drug officers will have to be taken off the streets. Mystic Matthews has more on how this could affect all of us.

Everyday, drug task force officers hit the streets, working to prevent drug related crimes, but since congress approved a 67% funding cut, investigators in Bryan, Coal and Atoka Counties say they are worried they will not have the money to operate.

Just last month, Congress voted to cut funding for all district attorney's drug task forces from just over $4 million down to a little over $1 million a year. The cut will go into effect July 1st.

For district 19, which includes Atoka, Coal and Bryan Counties, that means out of the four officers working the drug beat only one will remain solely because he is paid by the city police not with federal money.

David Cathey, an investigator at the District Attorney's Office in District 19 says this basically puts their drug officers out of business and the community at risk.

"Our drug task force will cease to exist at the end of this fiscal year unless some alternate funding becomes available for them," said Cathey.

The District Attorney's Office says in order to keep these task forces going citizens should call their Congressman to voice their concerns.

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