County commission learns of new regional drug task force

Brian Forester

Marengo County will be the administrative host for a new regional drug task force that will encompass not only the 17th Judicial Circuit but Tuscaloosa County and the 4th Judicial Circuit.

Dist. Atty. Greg Griggers asked the county commission to take on the position since, thanks to administrative assistant Meredith Hammond and her staff, the county always has had impeccable record keeping. In addition, his staff appreciated the commission’s willingness to serve as the 17th Judicial Circuit host without receiving anything in return.

Taking on the larger role of administrative host for the regional agency would be beneficial not only for law enforcement agencies but for Marengo County as well, said Brian Forester with ADECA. Recent drastic cuts in agency budgets led to the formation of seven drug enforcement regions in the state, which means more resources will be directed into each region.

Most of the drug enforcement agencies already have close ties with each other. The regional force system being set up across the state would allow them to pursue larger projects, Griggers said.

Forester added that officers now based in their home region would remain there but would be able to cross lines and provide assistance where needed.

The county would benefit from the new arrangement by receiving funds for the time expended on the necessary paperwork.

“I don’t see any negatives,” said Russell Morrison with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. He and two others work Tuscaloosa County, but his duties often require him to be out of the area. With this new arrangement, he would have eight other officers to help.

The regional drug task force system is on a one-year “trial” basis.

“We’re taking on a lot more work,” said Morrison.

The commission directed attorney W.W. Dinning Jr. to draft a petition for landowners along County Road 33 to approve vacating the dirt part of the road known as Sally’s Hill. No action can be taken until all those who own land along the stretch of road sign the petition.

In other action, the commission approved:

  • The reappointment of Curtis King to the South Marengo County Water and Fire Protection Authority Board.
  • Sponsoring the Summer Feeding Program.
  • The bid of $14,500 from Demopolis Delivery Service to provide the Summer Feeding Program.
  • The bid of $14,548.56 from Ozark Striping for work on five roads recently leveled and resurfaced. They are County Roads 54, 36, 21, 7 and Arcola Road.
  • Hiring Mitchell Gilbert for the county Road Department.
  • The appointment of John Scott as county coroner.