#qp_main1878605 .qp_btna:hover input {background:#002644!important} #qp_all1878605 {max-width:815px; margin:0 auto;}Is $1,000 from your community to support the Drug Task Force ...; if((!event.target?event.srcElement:event.target).tagName!='INPUT'){c.checked=(c.type=='radio'?true:!c.checked)};var i=this.parentNode.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('INPUT');for(var k=0;k!=i.length;k=k+1){i[k].parentNode.parentNode.setAttribute('sel',i[k].checked?1:0)}"]Not enough; if((!event.target?event.srcElement:event.target).tagName!='INPUT'){c.checked=(c.type=='radio'?true:!c.checked)};var i=this.parentNode.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('INPUT');for(var k=0;k!=i.length;k=k+1){i[k].parentNode.parentNode.setAttribute('sel',i[k].checked?1:0)}"]About right; if((!event.target?event.srcElement:event.target).tagName!='INPUT'){c.checked=(c.type=='radio'?true:!c.checked)};var i=this.parentNode.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('INPUT');for(var k=0;k!=i.length;k=k+1){i[k].parentNode.parentNode.setAttribute('sel',i[k].checked?1:0)}"]Too muchCreated withPollMaker

Since the re-establishment of the Harvey County Drug Task Force about a year ago, the parties involved — namely the Harvey County Sheriff's Office and Newton Police Department, which provide personnel for the task force — have been working to get a complete community buy-in regarding the organization's mission.

Meeting with the police chiefs of the other municipalities of Harvey County on a regular basis, Sheriff Chad Gay noted it wasn't too hard to get their support to reinvest in countywide efforts targeting the growing drug epidemic in the community.

While the local police departments have established good working relationships with the task force to facilitate investigations across all of the Harvey County municipalities — with Gay noting the latter has worked cases in all seven cities within the past year — more funding for the task force has also been pursued since it was restarted. That financial support may be coming closer to fruition, as an interlocal agreement was presented to the Harvey County Commission this week.

In the agreement, funding was specifically addressed — with an item lined out for partner agencies to contribute $1,000 in funding by March 1 of each year, beginning in 2018.

"We talked about multiple different amounts to put in and we thought that $1,000 was something that would certainly help the drug task force, but not be too much of a burden on some of the smaller cities," Gay said.

Once funds (which can be rolled over each year) reach $20,000 total, the monetary contribution from partner agencies would no longer be required — a point Gay said the agencies should be able to reach eventually.

Upon official adoption of the agreement, the funds would help address the financial needs of the task force when it comes to purchasing the necessary equipment, training members of the task force, matching funds for grants and one of the most integral aspects of the task force's operations — working controlled buys.

"One of the big things is we have to buy drugs," Gay said. "As strange as that sounds, we have to have money to do that, and so a big part of what we need that money for is just to do that."

Forfeiture funds from task force investigations would also be split among the partner agencies (depending on how much is in the joint fund), which currently include the Harvey County Sheriff's Office and police departments of Burrton, Halstead, Hesston, Newton, North Newton and Sedgwick — though commissioners noted they would also like to see Walton contacted in discussion of this interlocal agreement.

Consensus to move forward with the agreement has been given by the Newton and Harvey County commissions, but no formal approval has come from either governing body. The agreement sill has to go out to the smaller cities as well before it is officially adopted, but Gay said he is confident the agreement will be in place once March rolls around.

Getting an agreement together has taken some time, but Gay noted the support of the partner agencies came quickly, as all involved realized it was to their benefit to work jointly with the task force in addressing drug issues within Harvey County.

"We're very limited on personnel resources here, and for all of us to come together that way as a task force, it really helps us out as an agency and in turn helps the community," said North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan. "We don't want the drug dealing and the drug houses to not be held accountable by not having the resources to investigate them. This task force allows us to do that — to join resources and share information, that's huge."

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"I believe we're all working towards a common goal and the small amount of money that we're contributing, that all our cities are contributing, will go a long ways towards getting us towards that end result that we're seeking," said Halstead Police Chief Josh Orem.

"Basically, we realized that we are going to be most effective in what we're trying to do if we join resources and collaborate, so this is another big step in that direction," said Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder.

Part of the agreement would allow for personnel for the drug task force to come from the county municipalities as well, but Gay is aware how tough it would be for some of the smaller departments to commit to the daily operations of that group. However, local agencies have been willing to offer the use of resources when available, with Schroder noting some of his officers have assisted in drug task force investigations (and vice-versa) and Jordan noting his department has a canine unit that would be at the disposal of the task force in its joint operations.

Collaboration in funding is just the latest evolution in countywide partnership in the drug task force, but Gay noted one of the key aspects will remain as part of the local agreement — a continued open channel of communication (with Gay and the police chiefs acting as the Drug Task Force board, as well as informational sessions among county agencies ongoing).

"Right now, the biggest part is the information sharing — not just between my department and the sheriff's department, but every jurisdiction in this county," Orem said. "I think the communication between agencies is the most vital part of this."

"It would be very difficult to be successful with this drug task force without all the communities, without all the community support and without all the law enforcement support in those communities. It's integral; we have to work with those guys to be successful. Nobody knows better what's going in their city than the people who live in that city, and we rely on those folks to help us out," Gay said. "I want to make sure the people who are involved in the drug trade in this county are looking over their shoulder, wondering if those guys are coming."

 #qp_main1878605 .qp_btna:hover input {background:#002644!important} #qp_all1878605 {max-width:815px; margin:0 auto;}Is $1,000 from your community to support the Drug Task Force ...; if((!event.target?event.srcElement:event.target).tagName!='INPUT'){c.checked=(c.type=='radio'?true:!c.checked)};var i=this.parentNode.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('INPUT');for(var k=0;k!=i.length;k=k+1){i[k].parentNode.parentNode.setAttribute('sel',i[k].checked?1:0)}"]Not enough; if((!event.target?event.srcElement:event.target).tagName!='INPUT'){c.checked=(c.type=='radio'?true:!c.checked)};var i=this.parentNode.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('INPUT');for(var k=0;k!=i.length;k=k+1){i[k].parentNode.parentNode.setAttribute('sel',i[k].checked?1:0)}"]About right; if((!event.target?event.srcElement:event.target).tagName!='INPUT'){c.checked=(c.type=='radio'?true:!c.checked)};var i=this.parentNode.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('INPUT');for(var k=0;k!=i.length;k=k+1){i[k].parentNode.parentNode.setAttribute('sel',i[k].checked?1:0)}"]Too muchCreated withPollMaker