Task force holds annual meeting in Bartlett

The West Tennessee Violent Crime and Drug Task Force drew law enforcement officers and representatives of several district attorney offices to Bartlett earlier this month for their annual meeting to award honors, highlight accomplishments and emphasize the need for the work the task force does.

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, Weirich, 30th Judicial District, gave the opening address on Nov. 17, followed by Garry Brown, D.A. for the 28th Judicial District.

The work of putting one drug dealers in jail only to see another one immediately pop up may sometimes seem like a discouraging game of Whac-A-Mole, the arcade game that requires players to remain alert and smack down the targets as they pop up out of nowhere. But the task force remains optimistic about the work they do.

As Dyer County D.A. Phil Bivens said, the task force is needed. Without it, it would be even tougher to fight violent crimes and drug violations, particularly the use of heroin and the abuse of prescription pain medicine.

“My local departments, as great as they are, cannot handle this without the drug task force,” he said.

He expects to see Interstate 69 completed from Mexico to Canada within his lifetime, and he believes that will open up a huge drug pipeline straight through his district.

He commented, “Without the task force, rural law enforcement would be losing the war.”

The task force operates solely on the basis of grants and assets seized in the course of their work, using no money from the state. Other speakers noted that, for asset forfeiture, a law enforcement officer has to convince a judge of probable cause in order to proceed.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to bartlett.editor@journalinc.com.