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Law Enforcement Officials Join Yarmuth to Announce Jefferson County's Inclusion in HIDTA Program

(Washington, DC) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) was joined by law enforcement leaders from around Louisville and the Commonwealth to announce the new funding and resources available to Louisville law enforcement agencies following the approval of his request to include Jefferson County in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.

“For years, the men and women of law enforcement in this community have been waging a battle against drug trafficking, risking their personal safety to help make our families and our neighborhoods safe and secure,” Congressman Yarmuth said.  “The fight against drug traffickers is a tough and complicated one here in Louisville. Being a transportation hub, our interstates and airport facilities are often utilized by smugglers to ship drugs throughout the country. That is why I sought the change, which will bring local law enforcement some much-deserved help in the battle against drug trafficking.”

Congressman Yarmuth’s request to make Jefferson County the 28th Kentucky County in the Appalachia Regional HIDTA was approved late last week by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Together with local law enforcement agencies, Congressman Yarmuth worked to urge ONDCP to include Jefferson County in the program. Last year, the Congressman officially requested the designation in a letter to ONDCP and he has been working closely with the White House since then to have his request approved

"I am pleased to be able to support the efforts of state and local law enforcement in Kentucky through the designation of Jefferson County in the HIDTA program.  The HIDTA program provides much-needed resources to leverage the hard work of state and local law enforcement professionals, and helps fund effective initiatives to reduce drug trafficking threats throughout our nation,” said ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske. “As a former Chief of Police and member of the Seattle HIDTA Executive Board, I appreciate the significant contribution HIDTA makes to reducing drug use in America, and am proud to be able to support the work being done in Kentucky."  

Today, representatives of the office of Senator Mitch McConnell (KY), the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration joined Congressman Yarmuth to discuss the benefits of the HIDTA program.

This year, the ONDCP is expected to allocate funding to establish a Jefferson County Task Force, which will work jointly with the Appalachia Regional HIDTA executive board to best determine the resources needed in the Louisville community to effectively combat drug-trafficking.

In 2010, Jefferson County will be included in the baseline of funding for the HIDTA program. Already, the ONDCP requested $220 million in FY2010 funding for the 31 regional HIDTAs, while the House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee increased funding to $248 million.

“In the coming years, the program’s budget is likely to grow, as it continues to be a major element of national drug control strategy,” added Congressman Yarmuth. “I am proud we could get Jefferson County a seat at the table to access the resources our law enforcement personnel deserve. This program is going to be a great asset in our efforts to keep Louisville safe, secure, and drug-free long into the future.”

The HIDTA program will incorporate area law enforcement agencies into a partnership with state and federal law enforcement, facilitating coordination and cooperation on strategies to eliminate and reduce drug threats.  In other Kentucky counties, this coordination has extended to information sharing between agencies and cooperation between HIDTA’s full-time staff with local law enforcement to collaborate on major arrests of marijuana and methamphetamine smugglers.