Summit County of Colorado is shutting down its drug task force, which has been operational for over two decades with an annual budget of $200,000. The task force will wind down operations sometime this summer. Financial shortages have leeched funds for the task force, and law enforcement personnel are concerned about the public safety implications of shutting it down. Other priorities including a new drug court may also have factored into disbanding the task force.
The Summit County Drug Task Force has been accused of wasting taxpayer dollars in the past when it raided a legal medical marijuana grower who had licenses to grow marijuana for over 400 patients. But overall, the drug task force has been effective in busts for small and large quantities of drugs.
Summit County Drug Task Force is not alone in facing cuts this year. Several law enforcement operations and programs have also taken a hit throughout Colorado. Police officers have been forced to disband programs that capture criminals and identify threats to the public, which means that dedicated funding is a problem in other areas.
Much of the undercover operations in Summit County related to the drug trade were conducted by the task force, which means that those operations will now come to a grinding halt. The police department hopes to initiate undercover operations without the task force, but it will be on a much smaller scale.
The question, of course, is whether the Summit County Sheriff will have the resources to dedicate other officers and funds to undercover work. The sheriff expects to call in the Drug Enforcement Agency when he is alerted to large drug operations in Summit County, but federal law enforcement programs are also suffering under budget cuts.