Drug task force has successful year

It’s been a busy 2016 for the Brown County Drug and Major Crimes task Force.
Commander John Burke began working for the task force on April 1.  Since then, two full time officers and one part time officer have been added, as well as assistance from other local law enforcement agencies and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
“What we have tried to focus  on is those people that are trafficking heroin primarily, although we are also seeing trafficking in prescription drugs and meth,” Burke said.
He said that the task force is most effective when focused a little higher on the drug food chain.
“When you are willing to sell to another person, knowing the damage that drugs can do, I put you in a different category, and so does the law,” Burke said.
“It’s not that we are not concerned about the addicts, we are.  But they are at the lowest level.  If we can reduce the traffickers, hopefully we can reduce the addiction levels.”
Traffickers were a priority for Burke and the task force from the beginning.
“When I got here, I said I want a list of the top ten trafficking targets.  They gave that to me and we were able to take down the first two this year,” Burke said.
Looking ahead to 2017, Burke is ready for more progress.
“Right now, we have two people in meth school in Quantico, Virginia at the Drug Enforcement Administration school.  We have had to rely on Clermont County in the past for certified meth investigators to come to our scenes, but when these guys are done, we will be able to take care of that here,” Burke said.
He added that he was expecting more help from BCI this year and even some intelligence support from the Ohio National Guard.
Burke said the task force is also getting valuable information from the public as well.
“I’ve been impressed with the intelligence from the public, I’ve been impressed with the website we have.  People have responded to us.  The residents of this county badly want to see these overdose deaths stop.  Our county led the state in (per capita) drug overdose deaths in 2014 and 2015.  I don’t want to be first in that,” Burke said.
He asked that the public continue to be vigilant about drug activity.
“When they see cars coming in every night at their neighbors house and staying five minutes over and over again, that’s a sign.  Having that kind of information is what we need to help pinpoint these people.  Law enforcement survives off of information from the public.”
Burke also praised local law enforcement.
“We have good cops here in the county.  I’m impressed with the police chiefs and the amount of cooperation they have provided and their personnel. I see big things for the first six months of 2017, I really do.”
He also had kind words for the staff of the Brown County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
“They have been nothing but supportive and have done everything they can,” Burke said.
Anyone wishing to contact the task force about drug activity can go to the website at bcdmctf.org to send an anonymous e-mail or call (937) 378-2573.