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Oliver hopes to make a dent in drug use in 2013

Published 6:02am Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said his goals for protecting and serving the county in 2013 were simple: to continue knocking a dent in the amount of drug-related crimes that take place by utilizing the Franklin County Drug Unit and to keep open communication with the county’s residents through the sheriff’s office website.
“Of course there are other things we would like to work on, like lessening response times, but the most important thing for our agency to do in the new year is to keep the safety and well-being of our county’s residents our number one priority,” Oliver said.
“One of the ways we plan to do this is by reducing drug-related crimes through the Franklin County Drug Unit. By reducing drug-related crimes, we think we can make an impact on other crimes that take place, such as thefts, burglaries and domestic violence and disputes.”
The Franklin County Drug Unit, which is a collaboration between the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Russellville Police Department, was first formed in January of 2012.
The purpose of the FCDU is to have investigators who are dedicated to checking into every report of suspected drug activity in the area and making arrests based on those reports.
Within two months of being in operation, the FCDU was able to turn in over 80 cases to the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
The FCDU was also instrumental in April’s “Operation Spring Clean,” which was the largest drug raid in Franklin County’s history netting 126 arrests in a single day and a total of over 170 arrests by the raid’s completion.
Oliver said the success of Operation Spring Clean proves that the Franklin County Drug Unit is effective and will continue to be an effective tool to investigate and arrest people who participate in drug-related activity in the area.
“This is a never-ending cycle,” Oliver said. “There will always be someone to take the place of those who have been arrested and taken off the streets, but our goal is to stop the drug activity as much as possible.”
Oliver said he believed methamphetamine and the abuse of prescription medications are the two biggest problems facing Franklin County at this time.
“We receive complaints of suspected drug activity on a daily basis,” Oliver said. “Now that we have the drug unit, we have officers who follow up on these complaints. They follow leads to gather enough information for search warrants to find out if the complaints have been valid, and they have made numerous arrests.”
Oliver said community tips have played a large role in some of the cases the FCDU has been able to make.
“We encourage members of the community to report suspicious activity and many of the reports we do receive have led to arrests,” Oliver said.
“It just goes to show what can happen when there is open and honest communication between law enforcement and the community.”
Continuing that open and honest communication in 2013 is another main goal Oliver has for the upcoming year.
He said he plans to do this by continuing to utilize the FCSO website that has been successful in the past three months of bridging the gap between law enforcement and residents.
Oliver said the website has many different tools and offers everything from the history of the sheriff’s office to kids’ activities to detention center information to sex offender lists and so much more.
“We have tried to think of every service and every aspect of the sheriff’s office that we believe people need to know about,” Oliver said. “We want this to be helpful, but we also want it to be a way that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is transparent with the community.
“We want our citizens to know what’s going on, how we’re handling certain situations, and any other pertinent information that may come up on a weekly basis.”
In addition to viewing a list of all registered sex offenders in the county, finding out the different procedures and rules that must be followed at the Franklin County Jail, and tapping into kids’ activities to keep children occupied, residents can also use the website in the upcoming year to find out road conditions throughout the county, especially during the winter months, view a calendar of events that highlights any upcoming activities of particular interest to the community, and sign up for e-mail or text message alerts when something is happening in Franklin County.
“This is a great tool for the community,” Oliver said.
“If they can’t check the website every day, they can stay in the loop through our alert system where we’ll send out information about arrests, updates to our Most Wanted list, missing persons information and other news.
“We think this will be a great way for our office to communicate effectively with the community in 2012.”
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office website can be found at www.franklinsheriff.org.

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