OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – Senator Mitch McConnell joined local officials on the Owensboro riverfront on Tuesday to announce that Daviess County will become a part of the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program.
The program will provide local law enforcement with federal support to fight drug production and trafficking. Nearly half of all Kentucky counties are a part of this program.
Sheriff Keith Cain says the amount of funding coming is unknown right now, but it’s expected to help with training and equipment.
Owensboro Police Major J.D. Winkler says calls regarding overdoses and fatal overdoses, such as one detectives got this past Sunday, are happening more often.
“We noticed, it’s been probably 12-16 months when we started noticing an increase in overdoses. A lot of them were fatal,” he says.
Local law enforcement officials are joining others across Kentucky and three other states in the Appalachia HIDTA, which gives more resources, and better coordination to take on drug trafficking. 36 counties in Kentucky, covering more than half of the commonwealth’s population, are already involved in the program.
“Looking at the results, I think it’s made a difference, a positive difference in every place that has a HIDTA designation,” says Sen. McConnell.
“I remain convinced that that will translate into lives saved. There can be no greater focus, no greater accolade than that,” adds Sheriff Cain.
He also says the county’s spent the past decade trying to join it. Potential resources it could bring range from more manpower to funding to equipment.
“There can be no greater responsibility than for us to provide them with the training, with the resources, with the knowledge and the intelligence that they need to do their job not only effectively, but more importantly, to do it safely,” says Sheriff Cain.
While the county’s got the designation, the exact details have to be sorted out. Law enforcement officials tell us that they will be meeting next week to go through all these details and what the designation will offer.
(This story was originally published on June 1, 2021)