Dwindling Federal Funds Threaten Drug Task Forces

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - The head of Ohio's Task Force Commanders Association says many of the state's drug enforcement teams are in danger of shutting down because of dwindling federal funds.

Association President Hylton Baker says the task forces received $5 million in federal funding in 2000, but that has since dropped off to about $1.2 million this fiscal year. Many teams have had to spend time looking for alternative sources of funding.

To ease the shortfall, state Representative Tom Patton is proposing a $5 fee being added to court costs for traffic offenses.

The state's 26 drug task forces rely on the federal funding to cover equipment and administrative costs, as well as conduct operations like undercover drug purchases.