Congressman Chet Edwards announced that he has secured $200,000 for a Johnson County anti-drug task force. The funding was included in the 2008 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, which passed the House of Representatives 281-142 Thursday, July 26.

“These funds will help our law enforcement officers curb the spread of illegal drugs in Johnson County and help keep our children safe from drugs. I want to thank Johnson County commissioner R. C. McFall, County judge Roger Harmon and local leaders for their leadership on this worthwhile program. As the parent of two young boys, I am passionate about strengthening our local, state and federal partnership in the fight against drug abuse,” said Edwards, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.

“I am grateful for Congressman Edwards’ continuing support of the Stop the Offender Program. This program has proven to be highly effective in its effort to curb illegal drug sales and manufacturing in Johnson County. If the funds are secured by Congressman Edwards, the STOP Task force will be able to expand its operations and crack down even more on the drug dealers who are targeting our children,” said County Judge Roger Harmon.

The $200,000 secured by Edwards will go to the Stop the Offender Program, an undercover joint law enforcement agency whose objective is to stop the spread of drugs in Johnson County at the individual dealer level.

The program then uses information gained from low-level drug dealers’ arrests to follow the chain of command with the goal of stopping the flow of narcotics into Johnson County.

Edwards also secured $100,000 for the program in 2005. Johnson County set up its own STOP program, the STOP Special Crimes Unit, after a state-sponsored joint, multi-county task force was disbanded due to lack of state funding despite the program’s success.

“I commend the officers of the STOP unit for their hard work to keep drugs off the streets and away from our children,” said Edwards. “The funds for this task force will help our police jail drug dealers and keep drugs and drug-related crimes off our streets,” Edwards said.

The bill must still pass the Senate and be signed by the president.

“I will continue to work hard in the months ahead in support of this locally initiated law enforcement project,” concluded Edwards said.