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New drug task force combines resources among four counties - KOAM TV 7

New drug task force combines resources among four counties

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI - A new drug task force, serving four counties in southwest Missouri, combines resources among several law enforcement agencies.

Two arrests for manufacturing a controlled substance were made at 2718 W. 24th Street in Joplin on Tuesday, one of the first drug busts made by the new Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team.

The task force has already issued at least three warrants since June 8, when the Jasper County Drug Task Force formally merged with the Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force.

As a team, the task force covers Barry, Barton, Jasper and McDonald counties.

"If you're going to investigate drugs on a larger level, it is often times across jurisdictional boundaries,"said Sheriff Randee Kaiser, Jasper County. "By having a cooperative agreement across those boundaries, that helps our efforts."

The drug dogs that underwent training in Joplin Wednesday afternoon are just one example of a shared resource among the eight officers in the new task force.

"Instead of three guys for all of Barry and McDonald County, which is the way it was before, they'll have the resources of the whole task force," said Chief Greg Dagnan, Carthage Police Department.

Officials say merging resources also provides more opportunities to receive grant funding.

"Our drug task force relies heavily on state grant funding," Kaiser said. "The grant funding really pushes for there to be a bigger regionalization of our efforts."

Authorities from both previous groups say the merge is a win for both sides.

Officials hope more grant funding from the state will lead to additional personnel in the future.
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