Both sides react to Drug Task Force grant passing

KNWA

"To this day it’s still triggering and makes me emotional to even talk about it."

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On Wednesday, August 26, hundreds of people virtually attended Fayetteville’s special city council meeting, to discuss a grant for our area’s Drug Task Force.

After listening to hours of community input, city council members voted to pass the grant unanimously.

At the meeting, people from both sides shared their opinion on the issue.

When they’re out there taking guns off the streets and drugs off the streets and preventing violent crime, that is huge huge huge to our members, to the city, to everybody.

NICK WHITE, PRESIDENT, FAYETTEVILLE FRATERNAL ORDER LODGE 10 

They’re not improving our community, and for us to continue to waste money on this institution, in my experience, it has done nothing but hurt people.

ANONYMOUS PERSON AGAINST THE DRUG TASK FORCE

A person, who wishes to be anonymous, said his life changed because of the Drug Task Force’s handling of his arrest.

“They came in and seemed to be enjoying destroying someone’s life and traumatizing us,” he said. “I don’t see how the service they provide is actually helping anyone.”

Sarah Moore, the co-founder of the Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition, said there are many others out there with similar stories.

“I think anything that works towards building that relationship up and building additional transparency is very needed,” she said.

Transparency has always been very important to the police department here in Fayetteville.

NICK WHITE, PRESIDENT, FAYETTEVILLE FRATERNAL ORDER LODGE 10 

The money for this grant was already budgeted, but Moore said with the national microscope on law enforcement, it’s time to reevaluate how money is spent.

We’ve dropped a lot of responsibilities on law enforcement and I think it’s time to have conversations about… where do we shift those responsibilities, how do we find those additional resources in our community?

SARAH MOORE, ARKANSAS JUSTICE REFORM COALITION, CO-FOUNDER

Fayetteville Fraternal Order Lodge 10 President, Nick White, disagrees.

He said violent crime is on the rise and the Drug Task Force is more important than ever.

“The future of Fayetteville is really at stake,” he said. “We’re not out ruining people’s lives, we’re out preventing violent crimes, we’re out preventing drugs and guns from falling into the hands of children and young people”

Sgt. Tony Murphy, with the Fayetteville Police Department, said that’s how the Drug Task Force is key to keeping all Northwest Arkansas towns and counties safe.

They’ve dismantled 38 drug trafficking organizations, and those are organizations that are trafficking felonious drugs…the meth, the heroine, the cocaine.

Sgt. Tony Murphy, Fayetteville Police Department

No matter the outcome, we need to continue as a community to have these conversations on what actually keeps us safe, and how can we be more effective with our tax dollars, and ultimately how can we help all community members.

SARAH MOORE, ARKANSAS JUSTICE REFORM COALITION, CO-FOUNDER

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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