Anti-Crime task force members sworn in - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Anti-crime task force members sworn in

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More than 20 officers from Hampshire and Franklin counties were sworn in Friday morning to the newly created anti-crime task force.

"What it means is that we can put the public safety officials, law enforcement throughout the 47 communities together to really work on major crimes," said Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.

One of the first priorities of the force will be to tackle narcotics distribution throughout the two counties.

"There's a tremendous crisis with drugs because of the prescription drug abuse that leads to heroin addiction and so we are going to concentrate on that right off the bat," said Sullivan.

"We were amazed when we found because of budget cuts there was not one full-time police officer, municipal police officer, dedicated solely to narcotics in both counties. And, there used to be several," said Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan.

The task force will work in conjunction with a state police and the local sheriff's departments.

"There isn't a community in our district that hasn't had budget cuts and particularly for the small communities when they do have a major crime, now we can come together on a moment's notice to start working on the major crime that happened," said Sullivan.

More than $81,000 was awarded by the state's Community Innovation Challenge Grant Program to make the creation of this force possible.

"By pooling our resources, by joining the state police, by the sheriff's offices getting involved we are now returning to our communities a service that used to exist routinely and it is vitally important I think that we do that," said Donelan.

The newly sworn-in officers will begin working on cases Monday.

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