MASON CITY, Iowa – A north Iowa task force that has their sights set on fighting crime, may be experiencing serious funding issues this year.
The North Central Iowa Narcotics Task Force has been credited with sending well over 100 people to federal court for distributing meth.
And there have been plenty of other drug busts in a nine county region.
But that task force could be facing some serious cuts to its funding.
“The last decade that funding has been cut and cut and cut.”
Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals is the chairman of the task force and says this year they’re expecting a big cut in federal funding.
“With the drastic change, the departments that have full-time drug investigators will have to decide whether they’re going to continue to work drugs 100% with an investigator or not. So potentially there could be smaller agencies that aren’t going to put a focus, any focus on drug investigations,” he says.
the task force is currently bringing in $111,000, that pays for about 75% of the salary of three full-time drug investigators. That money will be cut by 42 percent.
We spoke with one of the investigators, who asked we protect his identity.
“It’s possible that if the task force would dissolve that I would go back to being assigned out of the sheriff’s office and still do narcotics investigation but probably just stay with the Cerro Gordo Area.”
He says the task force is important for several reasons, it’s not just about keeping drugs off the streets, but also works to stop other crimes that go hand in hand with drug related issues.
“If somebody is a drug user and they’re paying their drug dealer $200 per day for their drug habit and they’re not working, they have to come up with that $200 some where and I don’t think the general public realizes that’s through thefts, through forgery, through other crime that they’re committing.”
Sheriff Pals says they probably won’t find out how much funding they’ll be getting until the first of June.
He said at that point they’ll meet with the agencies that are funded with the federal money, including the Mason City Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff as well as the chiefs and sheriff’s in the 9 county area to discuss how to distribute the funds.