CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The Cumberland County Drug Task Force and police departments are teaming up to fight the increasing drug problem in the community full-time.
Cumberland County had 41 drug overdose deaths last year. This year it’s already up to 50.
Hampden Township is one of six police departments in the county providing a full-time officer in hopes of taking a bite out of the drug epidemic.
“We were looking at a full-time problem but only a part-time commitment,” Hampden Township Police Chief Steve Junkin said.
Hampden Township police are now part of the full-time solution.
“If we pull those resources, we now able to have a greater effect and be a little bit more effective,” Junkin said.
The Hampden Township Police Department is one of six in Cumberland County giving up an officer to the drug task force full time. The others include East Pennsboro Township, Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, Upper Allen Township, and Silver Spring Township.
“Drug work is about intelligence and proactive operations. They spend a lot of time developing intelligence and then actually doing operations, which is really getting out there working undercover, buying drugs, finding people with small amounts, small sales,” said Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed.
Freed hopes the officers can crack down on the heroin and opioid epidemic in the county and their effects on the community.
“Drug cases aren’t just drugs and drug possession and drug sales,” Freed said. “There’s also burglaries, theft, shoplifting, bad checks, things that go along with that so people can get money for drugs.”
“If you think that it’s only an East Shore problem, if you think it’s only an over there in that town or it’s in that neighborhood, you’re sadly mistaken,” Junkin said. “It’s right here in your township, in your neighborhood.”
Freed said other Cumberland County police departments may soon join the partnership with the drug task force.