Henderson Co. judge/executive approves new drug task force

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Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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HENDERSON, Ky (WFIE) - The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office has decided not to renew it’s contract with the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force.

Instead, they’ve partnered with Henderson city police to create their own drug task force.

The sheriff’s office received a grant to hire a deputy to work with the city’s drug unit.

Sheriff Crafton says that extra money was ultimately the reason why they cut ties with the Pennyrile Narcotics.

At Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting, the new partnership was approved, but some concerns were brought up by officials with the county jail.

Sheriff Crafton says creating a new drug task force with Henderson city police allows them to always have a narcotics officer available.

“Pennyrile was able to provide us with investigative abilities for the last several years, but the issue is they have 11 counties that they work,” said Crafton. “So, they’re only here part time. They did a good job for us. The job they did was not an issue. What we’re going to now allows us to have a full time narcotics officer that can work with the city police and we think it’s going to be a step up.”

This new task force is causing a few concerns.

Major Megan McElfresh with the detention center says the Pennyrile detectives significantly helped them by coming into the jail for training and drug investigations. She says she’s worried the new team may not be as available.

“We always had an agent that was on call available,” said McElfresh. “I could call him at 8 p.m. I could call him at two o’clock in the morning. He was always going to answer. Even if it wasn’t something he could involve himself in, he would give me advice. I feel like that’s something that I may not have in the future with this new task force.”

Major McElfresh says she’s hopeful the new force can keep Henderson safe.

That’s something Chief McKinney says they want to assure people they will do.

“No matter the type of complaint, our job is here to serve the community,” said McKinney. “I’m here for the city of Henderson. He’s here for the county. We’re going to do the best we can. We’re trying to reassure everyone that as we move forward, the service is not going to change. It’s not going to be worse, it’s going to be enhanced.”

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