Columbia Withdraws Funding From County Narcotics Task Force - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Columbia Withdraws Funding From County Narcotics Task Force

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COLUMBIA, Miss. - After several years of support, the City of Columbia is pulling its funding from the Marion County Narcotics Task Force.

The contract expired in September of last year, but the city has still been a part of the task force until now.

The Board of AldermEn decided in a meeting last week to change that.

"We discussed the number of cases that had been done in the City of Columbia and it wasn't sufficient," Mayor Robert Bourne.

The Task Force disagrees.

"The board was very rash in their decision and weren't given the entire story," said Commander Brad McDermit.

"He said Marion County has an extensive drug problem and their two-man task force has cracked down on crime.

"From January to December of 2013 the task force made a total of 215 cases county wide, 150 were made in the city," he said. "We also made 98 arrests in the City of Columbia."

The mayor said they've already spent $15,000 this year on the task force. The Columbia Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to pull their financial support.

"They certainly were not impressed with the work," he said.

The mayor and the task force said each agency has to pay $30,000 each year to be a part of the task force, but McDermit said  some of the money comes back to them.

"They may receive $10,000  to $15,000 back due to seizures," he said.

The cut will hurt the task force financially, but McDermit said they will still manage to operate from other grants and funding.

The city has to present a plan on March 4 that will reveal how they will tackle drug cases since they are separating from the task force.

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