Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $600,000)
The Searcy Police Department (SPD) along with the assistance from the Central Arkansas Drug Task Force (CADTF) understands and recognizes the detrimental effect and impact the opioid epidemic has on the areas covered within the jurisdiction. The SPD and CADTF also understands the need for training, investigation, prosecution, and assistance in cases involving opioids, stimulant, substance abuse and overdoses. In the last few years, the SPD and the CADTF has seen an increase in cases involving opioids, stimulants, and overdoses in these areas. The SPD and CADTF is dedicated to the aggressive identification and investigation of illegal drug activity along with the follow up arrest and conviction of violators. The SPD is also dedicated to dissolving and overcoming the stigma of seeking help and treatment for substance abuse. The Searcy Police Department is a municipal governmental agency that has been in existence since 1879. The Searcy Police Department has 51 sworn officers, 19 non-sworn personnel, and 10 Auxiliary Officers (volunteers) serving the citizens of Searcy. Searcy is the largest city and county seat of White County, Arkansas. According to 2019 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 23,660. It is the principal city of the Searcy, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of White County. The Searcy Police Department is only as effective as our relationship with our community.The Central Arkansas Drug Task Force (CADTF) is a multi-jurisdictional drug and crime task force. The CADTF covers White, Prairie and Lonoke Counties Within these counties, the CADTF has jurisdiction of approximately 2,521 square miles. The CADTF is comprised of investigators and officers from the Searcy Police Department, the White County Sheriff’s Office, the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, and the Prairie County Sheriff’s Office.Progect Goals and Objectives:To promote a higher level of cooperation and collaboration among the local agencies. Task Force agencies located within a judicial district as well as with other Task Forces statewide. To promote more direct involvement with non-participating law enforcement organizations at all levels of government. To improve the effectiveness of law enforcement to combat illicit opioid use, possession and distribution and to improve interdiction efforts through training that focuses on (1) up to date and relevant information about opioid abuse protocols; (2) the importance of sharing information statewide; and (3) collaboration between Drug Task Force members and law enforcement in general.To support and offer assistance to those affected by opioid use and opioid overdose. This will include programs preventing abuse, assisting those who are battling addiction, and supporting those affected by overdose deaths. To combat the current stigma involving seeking and promoting treatment for opioid, stimulant, and substance abuse. The objectives and goals for this project will provide the jurisdiction and state with a more direct and detailed investigation that records data concerning the most recent trends in opioid abuse. This data will be analyzed and used to further combat the opioid epidemic. It will also provide a victim assistance program that is paramount in the battle against opioid abuse and overdoses. This will allow the SPD and CADTF to dedicate an Opioid and Substance Abuse Investigator who will collaborate with a Peer Recovery Specialist. This will also allow the SPD to conduct more community outreach projects to help combat the stigma of seeking help and recovery for opioid, stimulant, and substance abuse. The Searcy Police Department (SPD) partnering with the Central Arkansas Drug Task Force (CADTF) is a multi-jurisdictional drug and crime task force. The CADTF is comprised of investigators and officers from the Searcy Police Department, the White County Sheriff’s Office, the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, and the Prairie County Sheriff’s Office. The SPD will continue to collaborate with local, state, and federal agencies in the jurisdiction. The SPD will continue to be tasked with assisting local, state, and federal agencies in the area with investigating any and all crimes involving illicit drugs including opioid overdoses and opioid abuse. The SPD will continue to provide a multi-jurisdictional approach. Each agency in the jurisdiction including local, state, and federal agencies will continue to collaborate with investigations and information regarding cases involving opioid overdoses and opioid abuse. The SPD will have the opportunity to implement a crisis response team that will be tasked with responding to and assisting with Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Overdose situations and investigations. The SPD will have the opportunity to dedicate and assign an Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Overdose Investigator who will be able to focus on and investigate further into the opioid, stimulant, and substance abuse epidemic our jurisdiction is experiencing. A Peer Recover Specialist that will work in a partnership capacity with the Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Overdose Investigator while assisting with Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Overdose investigations and offer assistance and support for victims and families of opioid abuse and/or overdose. These collaborative will produce more effective investigations, prosecutions, treatment, and recovery involving opioids. The SPD will also be able to offer dedicated community outreach programs that will assist in educating the public about Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Overdose and combating the stigma in seeking help and recovery.