Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro Awarded $563,821 to the Dutchess County Drug Task Force to expand their battle against drugs.

The final award of Molinaro's Municipal Innovation Grant program for 2017 was presented to members of law enforcement at a press conference at the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday aftenoon. The award was met with praise from the county's top law enforcement officials Sheriff Butch Anderson and District Attorney Bill Grady, who established the county's Drug Task Force in 1989. The Drug Task Force consists of law enforcement from the Sheriff's Office, City of Poughkeepsie, Town of Poughkeepsie, Town of East Fishkill, and the City of Beacon police departments.

The Drug Task Force, as a result of this grant, will have consistent funding, alleviating the financial burden of the four participating police departments. The Town of Poughkeepsie PD will be assigning a dedicated police officer to the Task Force, giving greater flexibility in providing for drug and gun targeting. The Task Force, which will increase from seven to eight full-time police officers, will be able to increase investigations, arrests, and property seizures.

According to District Attorney Bill Grady, "the Dutchess County Drug Task Force is vital in our anti-drug trafficking efforts but the Task Force has been challenged because of the lack of consistent funding available for local municipalities to participate in Drug Task Force activities. This grant funding will ensure we have the necessary resources to devote to this intensive, investigative work."

According to Town of Poughkeepsie Police Captain Ken Roman, who also serves as the county legislature's Public Safety Committee Chairman said, "this funding is critical to ensuring that illegal drugs stay off our streets and out of the hands of those who can cause harm to others."

He continued by offering some 2016 statistics as a result of Task Force work. Last year the Task Force handled a total of 135 cases, investigated 273 tips, completed 265 buys, 32 search warrants, 15 search warrant raids, and seized 12 vehicles.

The Municipal Innovation Grant program program began in 2013 to incentivize municipalities, through a competitive grant program process, to consolidate services, increase shared services, eliminate layers of government, and implement efficiency improvements. The grant funding is available to help communities innovate and partner with each other to save money.