(MITCHELL) – In April the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office teamed up with the Indiana Attorney General Office, Indiana Drug Enforcement Administration, Mitchell Police Department, and Seymour Police Department to take drugs off the street.
Arp agreed to sponsor the team and oversee its formation. Officers working on the team are dedicated solely to the function of seeking out illegal drugs that are being transported on roadways.
“Drugs are not manufactured and consumed strictly at the county level, drug trafficking has a broad reach that often extends past county lines, it only makes sense to join forces with other out of county agencies that are putting forth a dedicated effort that will allow us to connect the dots and takedown, major drug traffickers,” Arp says.
Officers from the Mitchell Police Department and the Seymour Police Department joined forces and conduct dedicated patrols as a team in both Jackson and Lawrence Counties.
The officers, if not already certified, complete specialized training specific to this area of the law. In addition, the team has partnered up with members of the D.E.A., the A.T.F., the Indiana State Police and the Indiana National Guard Counter Narcotic Task Force.
“This is the first time that Lawrence County has the ability to coordinate its efforts with state, federal and other area law enforcement agencies in such a manner that will target a specific problem that our community is facing, Lawrence County has never had such resources available to them at one specific time,” Arp says.
Arp gives credit to Mitchell City Mayor J.D. England for the creation of the task force.
“He had the vision, I found the money, but every police department was giving me the same answer, we don’t have the manpower, I hesitated before calling J.D. England knowing they definitely had a manpower shortage issue but made the call anyway, J.D. instantly replied the familiar words – we don’t have the manpower. I started to sigh, hearing the familiar words but before being able to do so J.D. stated ‘Mitchell really needs this, I’ll figure out a way to make it happen’,” Arp stated. “Once I had one solid commitment it gave me a much better argument when speaking to other departments.”
Arp then contacted then Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott. Arp stated that he was able to give the same sales pitch to Chief Abbott but this time with the buy-in from the city of Mitchell.
Chief Abbott was very receptive and after conducting a meeting with the IDEA he agreed to dedicate 1 or 2 officers to the task force.
“I am certain that this task force will have a tremendous impact on our counties drug problem and that the task force will grow large in size but I will be forever grateful to Mitchell Mayor J.D. England and Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott for sharing my vision and allowing me to form the task force, it most certainly would not have happened without their commitment,” Arp added
The Indiana Drug Enforcement Administration which received funding from the Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill will provide the Mitchell Police Department with a check for $61,000 to purchase needed equipment and pay for the initial training needed for the officers to specialize in highway drug interdiction.
The Lawrence County Prosecutors Task Force is now the 15th dedicated team in the state of Indiana under this funding. There are no other funded teams in South Central Indiana.
Part of the equipment purchased was K-9 Jack who has been working alongside Shawn Cabral who is one of the dedicated officers to the Lawrence County Task Force.
“Drug traffickers normally use the state highways of the night instead of the interstates,” stated Officer Cabral. “Over the last six months since the formation of our team, we have been able to take the drugs off the street.
From July 5th to October 27, 2019, this is the number of drugs taken off the streets:
- Raw Marijuana – 175.05 grams
- Cocaine – 28.70 grams
- Ecstacy – 34.25 grams
- Fentanyl – 1 gram
- Methamphetamine – 1088 grams
- THC Vape pens – 9
- Heroin – 2 grams
- Hash: 44.10 grams
- Edibles – 1 bag
- Syringes – 54
- Drug Paraphernalia – 16 items
- Prescription Pill- 7
- Habitual Traffic Violators – 1
- Stolen Vehicles – 2
- Psilocybin Mushrooms – 41.25 grams
- Warrants – 2
- Handguns – 1