Delaware County Drug Task Force
To The Editor:
As the drug problem in Delaware County continues to accelerate at a dangerous rate, and threatens to excessively burden our county finances and play havoc with families and businesses on many levels, it is important that we all participate in fighting Delaware County’s war on drugs.
On Friday, Dec. 13, 39 Delaware County officials from an array of public and human services agencies including the district attorney, law enforcement officers from a wide spectrum of specialties and agencies, several Delaware County human service agencies. as well as several town supervisors, all met at the Public Safety Building as a prelude to establishing the Delaware County Drug Task Force.
The ramifications associated with illegal drugs are not solely a law enforcement problem. It filters down to all areas of our daily life. The drug problem is ultimately funded by the taxpayers who bear the financial burden for a variety of public services. Children and families are being exposed to this prolific problem at alarming rates. Domestic incidents, child abuse/neglect and associated foster care for child victims have sharply risen. Our homes and businesses are being burglarized. Medical and mental health services are skyrocketing.
Moreover, many dealers when arrested are found to be supported by public assistance. The financial and social expenses are huge with the taxpayer footing the bill; all while watching our communities and quality of life suffer.
Heroin and narcotic prescription drugs top the list of those drugs most popular and available in Delaware County. Recently it has become mandatory that doctors and pharmacists access websites to check to see if a patient already has a prescription for narcotic drugs, before giving them another. This action was devised to eliminate the duplication of prescriptions as a source for supplying dealers with an inventory of pills to sell.
On June 18, the New York Senate passed the Public Assistance Integrity Act, which prohibits welfare recipients from spending the benefits assigned to their ATM cards for alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets. That act has stalled in the New York Assembly. Most drug-related arrestees in Delaware County are the recipients of public assistance.
The drug epidemic for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office has mushroomed during the last couple of years (up 223 percent in 2012) and threatens to double by next year. It is important to note that these numbers only represent the investigations and arrests made by the sheriff’s office and do not include drug arrests made by the NYS Police and other county law enforcement agencies. The common denominator is that all law enforcement agencies are seeing the same disturbing trends regarding drug activity and are committed to fight this problem together in a unified effort.
Local law enforcement has recently made some significant strides forward on the war on drugs, but our manpower is small and we cannot fight this battle alone. You, the public, are one of our best resources. You see, hear and know things about drug trafficking that is being conducted in every town, village, and rural homestead imaginable. Many of you have already sent tips to the sheriff’s e-mail address located on his web page: (http://www.co. delaware.ny.us/departments/shrf/shrf.htm).
We are in the process of installing a telephone tip line at 888 914-9111 and information concerning it will be made available on the sheriff’s web page. Your tips remain anonymous, but are promptly directed to our investigators. Even though all calls will remain confidential, we encourage your interaction with our investigators to provide them with the crucial information they need to make a difference.
Additionally, if you use a smart phone, we have also established a free sheriff’s application where you can leave tips. Search “Sheriff’s Mobile Patrol…Delaware County NY” for more information.
It is very heartening to realize that the website the sheriff’s office maintains on the Delaware County, NY web page is actually utilized by so many people. With that having been said, I realized that it is very possible that our website has the potential for being better utilized if a greater number of people knew that one of its purposes is to provide an exchange of information rather than merely portraying a snapshot of the activities conducted in our office.
We are very excited about the creation of a Drug Task Force for Delaware County. We are even more excited about our human services stakeholder agencies and elected officials willingness to be a part of tackling this problem. I firmly feel that through collaborative and comprehensive planning we can realize success by combining enforcement, education, treatment, and prevention together in a unified effort toward the common good.
If you have any questions or would like to be a part of our initiative please feel free to contact myself or Undersheriff Craig DuMond at 607 746-2336.
Tom Mills, Delaware County Sheriff