ANTI Drugs Act endorsed by National Sheriffs’ Association
News from the office of Senator Tester
BIG SANDY — The National Sheriffs’ Association – a group representing thousands of sheriffs, deputies, and other law enforcement professionals – recently announced their formal support for U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan Assisting Narcotics and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting (ANTI) Drugs Act, legislation that will support law enforcement efforts to combat the drug epidemic and boost border security.
Tester’s bipartisan legislation, introduced alongside Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), would increase resources for three programs – High Intensity Drug Task Forces (HIDTA), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and Operation Stonegarden – that law enforcement rely on to keep communities safe. The bill also includes new language to cut red tape and ensure that smaller law enforcement agencies and those in rural communities have access to COPS grants.
“Every day, sheriffs experience the dire situation and threats coming across our borders, and we applaud your leadership in addressing the deadly fentanyl crisis,” wrote Sheriff Jim Skinner, Chair of the National Sheriffs’ Association Government Affairs Committee in a letter of support to Senators Tester and Hoeven. “By passing the Tester-Hoeven ANTI-Drugs Act, Congress will provide critical support and funding to counties and local law enforcement in combatting drug trafficking and violent crime … The National Sheriffs’ Association is proud to offer its support for the ANTI-Drugs Act and thanks you for your continued efforts to support funding for law enforcement.”
“Montanans count on law enforcement to keep our communities safe, and my bipartisan bill will help give them the tools they need tackle some of our biggest threats,” said Tester. “I’m proud to have the support of the National Sheriffs Association behind this bipartisan legislation, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it across the finish line.”
The ANTI Drugs Act is also supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, Western States Sheriffs’ Association, and National Narcotic Officers Associations’ Coalition.
The ANTI Drugs Act would provide enhanced support for three critical law enforcement programs:
High Intensity Drug Task Forces (HIDTA) – $400 million
HIDTA grants fund regional task forces made up of members from local, state, Tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies that combat the drug epidemic in hard-hit communities. Montana is home to five regional HIDTA task forces that combat the drug epidemic in hard-hit communities— currently operating in Cascade, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Missoula and Yellowstone Counties. North Dakota is part of the Midwest HIDTA, with the following counties designated as HIDTA counties—Burleigh, Cass, Grand Forks, Morton, Richland, Walsh, Ward, and Williams.
Operation Stonegarden – $110 million
Operation Stonegarden provides funding to state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies to enhance coordination with Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol to defend America’s borders.
Community Oriented Policing (COPS) – $665 million
The COPS program awards grants to state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies in an effort to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing. The program also supports state law enforcement agencies in combatting the manufacturing and trafficking of meth and opioids.
The bill also includes new language requiring the Department of Justice to increase efforts to:
Improve and streamline the COPS grant solicitation process to make it easier for law enforcement agencies in rural areas and with fewer than 200 officers to apply for funding;
Address barriers that prevent eligible law enforcement agencies in rural and underserved areas from utilizing the COPS Hiring Program to increase staffing; and
Conduct additional outreach and provide additional technical assistance to law enforcement agencies in rural and underserved areas.