director visits Platte County
In a roundtable discussion held in Platte City on Friday
morning, Congressman Sam Graves and Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) Director Asa Hutchison, heard from area law and
drug enforcement officers about their local concerns on
the war on drugs.
"The fiercest battles in the war on drugs are right
here in Missouri," said Graves. "To our south,
Independence still reigns as the city with the most meth
problems. However, rural communities and country roads
are not immune to the growing drug trade. Throughout our
rural areas, drug dealers are cooking their dangerous
concoctions and selling them to our children."
Graves and Hutchison were joined by representatives from
Platte and Buchanan counties Drug Task Force, U.S. Attorney
Todd Graves, Platte City Mayor Dave Brooks, Platte City
Police Chief Bill Massock, Platte County Sheriff Dick
Anderson and representatives from HITDA.
"This meeting was a perfect opportunity for the
people in Washington to hear the problems we're having
here in Missouri. We have a problem with the war on drugs
also, and the discussion was a great opportunity for Asa
to hear those first hand," said Graves.
Graves continued about the real effect the Kansas City
metropolitan area has seen because of some major roadways
through the area.
"Three major drug trafficking Interstates converge
in the Kansas City area," said Graves. "Those
interstates act like a pipeline for these terrible drugs.
I hope by raising awareness and providing local law enforcement
the tools and funding they need we can guard against these
Before the meeting was opened up to a roundtable discussion,
Hutchison addressed the area representatives in attendance.
"The DEA wants to be a strong partner in the war
on drugs," stated Hutchison. According to Hutchison
some main areas of focus in the war on drugs include methamphetamine
One way Hutchison said the DEA is working towards that
goal is by filling a void that is being vacated in the
war on drugs.
"400 FBI agents are being pulled from the war on
drugs fight to target terrorism," said Hutchison.
"While I think the FBI is making the right decision
to focus all of their efforts on terrorism, the DEA is
going to work hard to fill that gap being vacated."
Hutchison congratulated law enforcement efforts on the
war on drugs in Missouri. According to Hutchison so far
Missouri law enforcement has seized 2,100 labs.
"Law enforcement is doing a great job seizing labs
here in Missouri," said Hutchison. "It's important
to reaffirm to our local law enforcement how important
our role is in the international role of Missouri."
"The enforcement side will always be essential in
the war on drugs. We can never escape the effects of enforcement,"
continued Hutchison. "Statistics are showing that
the purity of drugs is down by nine percent. That means
the drug manufacturers are having a problem; which is
a small victory for enforcement when we have impacted
Once the meeting was opened up to discussion, there were
many areas of concerns raised to Hutchison.
According to Graves some of the key points developed
at the meeting include the limitations on grant programs
in the fight on the war on drugs.
"A lot of times the grants from the federal government
are limited two to three years and then law enforcement
is relying on the county to respond when that funding
is cut off and many times the county isn't able to provide
that type of funding for the drug task forces and programs,"
Another key issue was the shortage of drug dogs available
to drug task forces across the State of Missouri. Individuals
stated that if more funding could be made available for
the funding of drug dogs, then law enforcement could gain
more use of them on a local level and possibly see greater
results in the war on drugs.
Officials and representatives also stated the importance
of ensuring that drug task forces are provided with the
funding and equipment they need across the State of Missouri.
During the meeting, Graves expressed his support for
President George W. Bush's budget proposal of $30.2 billion
for the Department of Justice that includes significant
resources to hire more personnel and improve technology
for federal law enforcement agencies.
He also noted his support for the Community Orientated
Policing Services in Schools grant program that assist
law enforcement agencies in hiring new, additional School
Resource Officers to engage in community policing in and
around primary and secondary schools.