City police join Metro Task Force

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2000

As of Sunday, the Vicksburg Police Department is adding another weapon to its drug-fighting arsenal.

Police Chief Mitchell Dent said his department is joining the Capital City Metro Task Force, which includes the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, six other cities and one county.

Dent said the $2,500 enrollment fee will allow the department access to more surveillance equipment, agents and money for undercover drug buys.

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“This is going to be a great advantage to us,” he said. The task force will be an addition to the department that has a newly renovated five-member Narcotics Division.

The department also has three drug-detection dogs and a 54-member patrol force.

Dent said the task force also would help the department qualify for federal and local grants.

“You have to be a part of the task force to get some of these monies, so that is a big plus for us,” he said.

The announcement of joining the task force comes two weeks after the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics opened its first office in Vicksburg in an attempt to cut down on drugs traveling into and out of the state on Interstate 20.

The headquarters on Mission 66 also will serve Sharkey, Issaquena, Claiborne, Jefferson and Yazoo counties.

Dent said the local police department signed on to be a member of the task force for one year, but he feels confident that contract will be extended.

“The longer we stay in the unit, the more funds and equipment you become eligible for,” he said.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said he has no plans for his department to join the task force.

“We will continue to assist the state in any way we can,” he said.

Both the county and the city pulled out of a similar task force with the state in the early 1990s. Each agency complained about benefits.

State and federal laws allow agencies to seize property and cash believed used in drug trafficking. If a judge decides the property or cash can be forfeited to the arresting agency, that department is allowed to spend it in its fight against drugs.

Dent said in the new unit, any drugs, money or property confiscated will be given to the department where the the arrests take place.

Also in the task force are Florence, Magee, Pearl, Richland, Ridgeland, Yazoo City and Simpson County.