Collaboration key for trio of narcotics officers

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Having a trio of narcotics officers working on cases in Dubois County means more work can be done to get drugs off the street and to get more people help with their addictions.

“I can’t tell you how much this has helped,” said Dubois County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Detective John Anderson, who until this year had been the lone narcotics officer in the county. “We have a team of great cops who are great people. They’re self-starters. They motivate themselves. I’ve never called them guys and had a problem with getting where I need to be on a detail.”

Anderson, Huntingburg Narcotics Detective Rusty Drew and a narcotics officer in Jasper work together on drug investigations that happen in the cities, as well as in the county as a whole.

“It’s a collaboration between the cities and county,” Dubois County Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter said. “So that if there is a detail in Jasper, the Huntingburg officer can go along. If they have a dealing in Huntingburg, the Jasper detective can go,” he said. “If it happens in the county, all of them can go.”

Having this collaboration means patrol officers can stay on the roads.

“With us being a smaller department,” Drew said, “if I’d go out and get into a drug case, if it weren’t three of us, I would have to pull one, maybe both, road officers off the road to help me. That would leave the roads uncovered, or we’d have to call somebody else in for it.”

The latest result of that collaboration was seen in the drug sweep that was announced Monday. In that, 15 people are facing drug dealing charges. The narcotics team used confidential informants to facilitate undercover drug buys of methamphetamine, LSD, marijuana, heroin and other opiate-derivative drugs. The primary drug purchased was methamphetamine. The investigation started last summer and continued until now.

“You have six ears listening now, instead of two,” Anderson said. “You’ve got three people completing paperwork, where before it was mainly me.”

“We’re able to do more cases and make more controlled buys because there are three of us now,” Drew said. “That’s been a big thing.”

The team works well together, said the Jasper detective, who declined to be identified.

“All of us have that same passion and that same drive, that we want to get rid of all of the drugs that are in our community,” he said. “And then the courts help out the people who are addicted to them. If you don’t help out the people who are addicted to them and get them away from that addiction, you’re never going to stop that influx of drugs coming into the community.

“My belief is that if nobody wants it, there’s no demand for it.”

With having more officers dedicated to investigating drug cases, there has been an influx of findings.

“Like anything else, the more you start looking, the more you start finding. And the more you start finding, the more it turns into other things,” Anderson said. “We could actually use some help.”

That requires prioritizing.

“Like yesterday, I had two things that really needed to be taken care of,” Anderson said. “I called [Detective] Rusty [Drew] and asked him to follow up on one. He wound up following up, got me a contact, got the information we needed, and we got a search warrant. Meanwhile, I went and addressed another problem because it was so significant that I couldn’t not do something with it.”

Ultimately, the officers’ goals are to rid the community of the drug problem and to get the people who have addictions to treatment.

“It’s not about arresting people. It’s not about how many people you put in jail,” the Jasper detective said. “If you help that one person not use anymore, you’re doing a great thing. They’re not going to use anymore and all of sudden, they have a full-time job and they’re contributing to society. That helps out a lot.”




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