Governor Asa Hutchinson today released $600,000 in Rainy Day funding for the state’s drug task forces, with approval of the Joint Budget Committee of the Arkansas General Assembly, providing additional resources to key law-enforcement agencies while federal funds are delayed.
Funding for the task forces is provided through the federal Department of Justice’s Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program. However, funding for JAG grants has been held up in litigation over the enforcement of federal immigration policies, and funding for state’s law enforcement programs has been blocked.
“Our drug task forces are on the front lines of our fight against drugs in Arkansas,” Governor Hutchinson said. “As a former federal prosecutor, I saw firsthand the impact of the task forces on improved law-enforcement coordination and in reducing illegal drugs on our streets. This funding will provide a needed lifeline to law enforcement until federal funding issues can be fixed.”
Funding for the task forces was provided through the Governor’s Rainy Day Fund. These funds were released at the order of the Governor and with approval of the legislature. Governor Hutchinson said Wednesday that he will continue to work with legislative leaders and Arkansas’ congressional delegation to find a long-term solution to supporting the state’s drug task forces.
Arkansas Drug Task Forces allow local police, sheriffs and prosecutors to cooperate and coordinate in combating the sale of illegal drugs. Funding provided through JAG grants pays for equipment, salaries and operational expenses for 20 different task forces across Arkansas.