Formed in January of 2015, the task force brought together agents from the sheriff’s office, Roanoke Rapids Police Department and Weldon Police Department.
Weldon withdrew from the task force because of budgetary restraints, Tripp said, and Roanoke Rapids wanted to explore different avenues.
Roanoke Rapids Chief Chuck Hasty confirmed Tripp’s explanation of why his department withdrew.
Tripp said Chris Parker, a Weldon officer who had been an agent with the joint task force, will come to work for the sheriff’s office narcotics division on August 15.
Tripp said the breakup of the task force will not impede narcotics work within the county and will still mean joint efforts among other county law enforcement agencies. “We will continue to work with Roanoke Rapids and Weldon as we always have. We will continue to enjoy mutual cooperation.”
Tripp said he believed the task force in its three years was effective. “Any time we can pool resources together it’s always good. I understand budget constraints and wanting to explore different avenues. It’s always our goal to want to get drug dealers off the street.”
In this budget year, Hasty received funds from city council to form a proactive community engagement team to not only work with the police department’s two narcotics agents but to concentrate on gangs and violent crimes.
Hasty said the department is currently working on filling the two proactive engagement team investigator positions as well as any other open positions.
The position left open by the retirement of Deputy Chief Andy Jackson became an investigator position with the promotion of Master Officer Jamie Hardy, he said.