Wake commissioners approve funds to hire more drug investigators

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Wake County drug crackdown.

Wake County's top law enforcement officer says he needs more tax payer dollars to fight an ever-growing 'war on drugs.'

And Wake County commissioners seemed to agree, approving Monday his request for more money to hire three new drug investigators.

Sheriff Donnie Harrison wants drug dealers looking over their shoulders when they come to Wake County.

"When you're riding down the road, and you see a highway patrolman or the sheriff's deputy or a police officer and say, 'well he's probably got a radar in the car, I'm gonna slow down,' that's what I want to present." Harrison said. "You look over your shoulder, there will likely be an undercover agent watching you."

Harrison points to an extensive highway and interstate system. A bevy of airports, and a spike in population, for making Wake County a staging area for drug shipments.

"If we've got drug dealers here, and I know we do, then we want to combat that. We want to make sure we run them out of here, send them to another county, send them to another state, I don't care," Harrison said.

Since 2013, his narcotics unit has seized more than $177-million worth of street-level drugs, and more than $5 million meant to buy them.
But Harrison says his team needs to tackle large-scale operations; work that can only be done with more agents on the ground -- three new investigators to be exact.

"We have to outfit them in cars, we have their retirement and their insurance," Harrison said.

He said he would promote the deputies from within, but he needed the county to pick up the nearly $277,000 tab, most of which would come from asset forfeitures -- seized drug money -- he says would go right back to paying the law enforcement officers shutting down drug trafficking.

Commissioners denied the sheriff's same request last July... but Harrison said before the meeting that they can't afford to -- even though money's been tight.

"And it's still tight," Harrison said. "But it's come to a point that I feel like we just need these investigators to get some of these drugs off the street."

Harrison said the three new investigators will allow his narcotics unit to divide into two teams and work on large-scale operations simultaneously.

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