A decrease in the crime rate and an increase in drug arrests have been reported in an area community and a cooperative drug task force may be behind it.
The Suwannee County Drug Task Force has been dedicated to getting illegal drugs off the streets for some time. The Live Oak Police Department is rejoining the team after a two-year hiatus.
Suwannee County Resident Rhonda Cheney says of the endeavor, "I feel that anytime that you add more manpower in law enforcement to a community I think the residents will tend to feel [safer] and drug dealers can start getting worried."
One police officer will work with the task force, also serving as a liaison between the two agencies.
"The drug task force has been very successful,” says Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron. “Due to their success, that's one of the main reasons that crime is down in Suwannee County by 16.8 percent this year. I think a lot of that can be credited to the people of Suwannee and the drug task force. Last year we were up to 267 drug arrests. This year it looks like it's going to be up around 300 or more."
Just last week, the drug task force confiscated $20,000 worth of cocaine, $5,000 worth of marijuana, and $2,300 in cash from a suspected drug house in Live Oak.
An arrest is forthcoming.
"Those are the kinds of things that the task force can do to really make a difference here," says Sheriff Cameron.
An officer will be appointed within a couple of weeks.
Live Oak Police Chief Nolan McCleod says he looks forward to the partnership.
The Suwannee County Drug Task Force is partially funded by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.