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Examining Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force Operations in Illinois

NCJ Number
Jessica Reichert; Amy Sylwestrzak
Date Published
August 2012
40 pages
These findings result from two focus groups representing 19 multi-jurisdictional drug task forces (DTF's) and metropolitan enforcement groups serving 62 counties across Illinois.
Findings show that drug task forces (DTFs) are not confined to individual county borders and work undercover with informants to purchase drugs and arrest drug dealers; drug task force officers (TFOs) provide community education and offer assistance to local police on non-drug crime, such as homicide; drug TFOs are extensively trained; strategic priorities change over time, based on local trends in criminal drug activity; local drug trends are identified in street-level investigations, and with input from local and Federal law enforcement agencies; DTFs have experienced reductions in Federal grant funding, local police resources, and personnel; while they are a source of funding, DTF seizures of large assets are rare and little money is recouped from court fines of drug offenders; high operating costs include: salaries with benefits, UC drug buys, fuel, vehicle maintenance, technology such as cell phones, video cameras, and radios, and litigation insurance; DTFs collaborate with local prosecutors, parole agencies, Federal criminal justice agencies, treatment providers, and pharmacies; increasing amounts of evidence is needed to prosecute cases; in 2011, a higher percentage of the DTF arrests were felonies (89 percent) compared to the percentage of other law enforcement agency arrests for felonies (49 percent); DTFs made more controlled substances arrests than cannabis arrests, while other law enforcement agencies made more cannabis arrests; and DTFs made more arrests for drug manufacture and delivery than drug possession, while other law enforcement agencies made more arrests for drug possession. The five-year average (2007 to 2011) of cannabis seized by drug task forces was 53.5 million grams and 336,168 grams of controlled substances; and of weapons seized by DTFs was 879 weapons per year; and value of forfeitures for the DTFs was $4.3 million. Figures, references