Governor Sends $600K to State's Drug Task Forces

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday released $600,000 in rainy day funding for the state's drug task forces.

The Republican released the money with approval of the Legislature's Joint Budget Committee. The governor said the money would help key law enforcement agencies while federal dollars are delayed.

Money for the task forces comes through the federal Department of Justice's Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program. But according to the governor's office, funding for JAG grants has been held up in litigation over the enforcement of federal immigration policies.  

"Our drug task forces are on the front lines of our fight against drugs in Arkansas," Hutchinson said in a news release. "As a former federal prosecutor, I saw firsthand the impact of the task forces on improved law-enforcement coordination and in reducing illegal drugs on our streets. This funding will provide a needed lifeline to law enforcement until federal funding issues can be fixed."

The governor said he will continue to work with legislative leaders and Arkansas' congressional delegation "to find a long-term solution to supporting the state's drug task forces." 

Arkansas Drug Task Forces allow local police, sheriffs and prosecutors to cooperate and coordinate in combating the sale of illegal drugs, the governor's office said. Funding through JAG grants pays for equipment, salaries and operational expenses for 20 different task forces across Arkansas.