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Grant to aid police in drug battle

February 23, 2011
The Crawford County Prosecutor's office has taken another step in the battle against drug dealers in the county by securing funds to better equip local law enforcement officers with the tools they need to aid in that goal.

Lyn Hayse, assistant prosecutor who specializes in drug investigations and prosecutions, applied for a grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute last fall, with hopes of securing enough funds to buy equipment that could make a major difference in not just arrests but successful convictions of those who are caught dealing drugs. Part of the funds will also be used for training.

The grant, which is good for 12 months, has already been approved and the money is now available and can be used as needed.

"We actually asked for $21,296 for the program," Hayse said. "And we were surprised that we got every dime we asked for. The funds are to be used to continue to prosecute drug crimes and for special equipment and training for law enforcement officers. We also plan to put at least $5,000 in an investigation fund that would be available to officers to use for drug investigations. Officers could then go to that fund, sign for the funds they need and use them for solving drug-related crimes."

Hayse refused to list the equipment that was being purchased for drug investigations, saying that "we'd prefer not to dwell on the type of equipment we are getting," indicating that drug dealers don't need to know what will be used against them.

Many advancements have been made in recent years in equipment used by law enforcement to battle drugs. Hi-tech innovations that have improved everything from cell phones to video games have also been applied to law enforcement, opening up new methods of, not just arresting drug criminals, but in successfully prosecuting and convicting them.

Local and county law enforcement agencies often have little in the way of extra funding to purchase special equipment or specialized drug enforcement training, and this grant will focus on those needs, Hayse said.

But the cornerstone of the project will be the training that officers will have available to them, funded by the grant, that will focus on proven methods used by many state police officers and detectives.

The training program, called "Drug Warrior," is a specialized drug interdiction training formulated by the Indiana State Police to focus on improving officers' knowledge on the use, transportation and purchasing of drugs in a community and on the state's highways and roads.

"We will set aside over $7,800 just for training," Hayse said. "It will cost us around $1,300 just to bring the Drug Warrior training program to Crawford County, but that will allow us to train about 30 officers, including both local officers like town marshals and county officers, and we'll probably have a few extra slots available to offer to some officers in neighboring counties who would like to participate in the training. This is intensive training, a two-day course, that will have both classroom-type training as well as hands-on instruction that will allow the officers to conduct real-life scenarios with vehicles and structures."

ISP troopers Kirby Staley, Paul Andry, Charles Pirtle and others will assist in the Drug Warrior training.

"We've been working toward an improved drug program in the last year," Hayse said. "This will help us reach some of our goals. We've been wanting to give county officers the chance to learn special highway interdiction methods. Indiana State Police officers have had this training for quite a while, but local officers didn't have access to it. This grant will make that available."

Hayse said the prosecutor's office hopes to create an improved working relationship between agencies and to make officers as prepared as possible in order to have an impact on the drug problem in the area.

"I'm excited about it," she said. "I had never written a grant before, but I've learned a lot from Cheryl (Hillenburg), the prosecutor, and this was actually her idea. But now that we have the funding, we can focus on creating an even better drug enforcement program in the county."

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