The Franklin County Drug Task Force was formally organized by District Attorney John F. Nelson in May, 1988. It was and is the goal of the task force to provide a cooperative approach to drug enforcement throughout Franklin County, utilizing the resources of the various municipal police departments, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.
Initially, municipal officers were assigned to the task force only on a part-time basis. The task force was met with considerable success in those years, but it soon became apparent that more than a part-time effort was needed. Since March of 1990, the drug task force has had at least one municipal officer assigned to it on a full-time basis.
In the early 1990's, the drug task force operated with, at times, two or three municipal officers assigned to it on a full-time basis. The municipal police departments supplying those officers were reimbursed on a pro rated basis from contributions received from municipalities throughout the county. Since it's inception, the drug task force has been directly responsible for making in excess of 1,000 arrests for drug violations, the large majority of which were felony arrests.
Despite the success of the drug task force, sentiment for the continued financial support of the task force waned in the late 1990's. Also in the late 1990's, in addition to experiencing the continued high level of activity with regards to illegal drugs such as crack cocaine and marijuana, the Franklin County community began suffering the impact of a significant influx of heroin into our community.
These factors prompted the Franklin County District Attorney's Office to revitalize the drug task force effort and seek alternative funding for it's officers.
In May of 2000, as a result of a cooperative effort involving the Franklin County Commissioners and municipalities throughout the county, and the receipt of a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Franklin County District Attorney's Office was able to hire two county detectives to be assigned on a full-time basis to the Franklin County Drug Task Force.
These are positions are filled by officers with extensive narcotics investigation experience, and their addition to the drug task force is expected to have a significant impact on illegal activity in the county, both with respect to the more "traditional" drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, and the highly addictive and deadly heroin that is currently flowing into the county.