Lincoln County’s inter-city illegal drug investigation team disbanding – but the war on drugs will continue with available resources..
A message from Lincoln County Sheriff Dennis Dotson:
Over the past decade, local police departments have struggled to assign a detective from their department to LINT, the Lincoln Interagency Narcotics Team, due to losses of police officer positions and the difficulty in replacing them. Toledo Police has been unable to provide a detective to LINT since the late 1990’s due to a shortage of police officers. Newport Police has suffered police officer losses and had to discontinue participation in LINT a number of years ago in order to provide another police officer to answer calls for service from the public.
Nearly one year ago, the Sheriff’s Office experienced a sudden loss of deputies and was also forced to reassign their LINT detective to respond to calls for service from the public.
Nearly one year ago, the Oregon State Police detective assigned to LINT retired. OSP has been reluctant to fill that position, due in part to a lack of participation in LINT from local police agencies and OSP’s requirement that a local police agency provide on-site supervision for LINT. It is important to understand that since 1990, the OSP commander in Newport supervised LINT.
Lincoln City Police continued to staff a detective to LINT, in hopes that other law enforcement agencies within the County would soon recover from their staffing deficits. Without participation from the other area law enforcement agencies, Lincoln City PD cannot continue to be the sole participant of a multi-agency team.
Supervision for LINT was offered by Lincoln City PD, but the offer could not include on-site supervision due to its impracticality in meeting Lincoln City’s policing needs.
Drug investigations will continue in Lincoln County. And they will be conducted by the same former LINT detectives. The change is that rather than working out of the OSP office in Newport, the detectives will work from their respective departments and utilize today’s technology to communicate and work drug cases as needed.
End of Sheriff’s Dotson Memo –
— Meanwhile, Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda told News Lincoln County that his department has indeed faced staffing challenges that continue to this day. Between retirements, higher level training for existing officers and the unavoidable occasional injury, there are always gaps in coverage they have to plug. Add to that the very labor intensive nature of investigating local and regional drug rings, they get stretched too thin. So, something has to give. He said drug investigations frequently overlap with neighboring communities and therefore information is exchanged between departments rather regularly. But acquiring that information to share takes a lot of time – time that local departments don’t always have.
A comment from Lincoln County District Attorney Michelle Branam
“My comment is that the District Attorney’s office has been and continues to be committed to the LINT mission. This office has a dedicated prosecutor that has been and will be responsible for large scale drug enforcement in Lincoln County. If the citizens of Lincoln County want to have a drug team dedicated to our community, I encourage them to contact their local law enforcement to express their concerns. The DA’s office is ready and willing to continue the work of the LINT team.”