By now, readers are probably familiar with most of the benefits of the Benton County public safety sales tax: 32 additional police officers throughout the county and cities, an additional Superior Court judge and deputy prosecutors, and continued funding for the drug court. It would also create new crime and gang prevention programs and a mental health court. All these are needed in our criminal justice system.
What voters may not know is that this ballot measure will also ensure continued funding of the Metro Drug Task Force. Metro is composed of federal agents and detectives from the local police departments. It was created in 1988 to target high and mid-level narcotics dealers. Many drug dealers have been taken off the streets thanks to Metro. Its success is indisputable.
Since its inception, Metro has been funded by a federal grant. Each year the amount of that grant has been reduced. We now risk losing the grant funding altogether. This ballot measure will help ensure the Metro Drug Task Force continues.
Your vote is important. I encourage you to approve the public safety sales tax.