Law Enforcement: California Budget Crisis Could Gut State Narcs, Drug Task Forces

The latest version of the California state budget being considered by legislators in Sacramento would reduce the number of state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement (BNE) agents to 100 and zero-out funding for 51 drug task forces funded by the agency. A decade ago, BNE fielded 400 agents. Cuts in recent years have reduced that number to 185 agents, and the latest budget proposals would slice that number nearly in half.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/camp1.jpg
California ''Campaign Against Marijuana Planting'' (CAMP) task force at work (photo from calguard.ca.gov)
California is faced with a $26 billion budget deficit, state employees have been told to take three unpaid days of leave each month, the state is now issuing IOUs instead of cash payments to some vendors (and people expecting income tax refunds), and drastic cuts are already being administered to a wide variety of health, education, and welfare programs. But that doesn't stop the narcs from squealing.

"We realize everyone's going to take cuts," said Mike Lloyd, head of the Association of Special Agents. "But to have already cut us by 215 agents and turn around and cut us again this year by another 70 agents, which is 50 percent of our general fund budget, that's huge. There's no agency in the state that's taking that kind of hit," he told the Redding Searchlight.

The association met with legislators last week to try to reverse the cuts. The narcs argued that in additional to handling statewide drug enforcement, BNE also funds the local drug task forces. If BNE funding dries up, those task forces will go the way of the dodo bird, the narcs warned.

BNE has the support of California Attorney General Jerry Brown. "What the task forces do and what BNE does is they bring expertise and resources to stop drug-trafficking organizations that go beyond city and county lines," said Brown spokesman Scott Gerber. "They're the only bureau in the state that does that. They play a critical role."

If the BNE funding cuts actually occur, drug law enforcement will devolve back to local police forces and sheriff's departments, which are also cutting back because of budgetary pressures. The end result is likely to be less drug law enforcement, for better or worse. [Ed: Mostly for better.]

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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That Just Breaks My Goddamn Heart...

Where will cops get their fuckin' money from...? I know, the federal stimulus program!

Will someone please think of the Doughnut Makers!

What will they do when their biggest customer base can't afford their wares?

donut makers

Put all the unemployed badge-gang criminals to work growing weed. You and I will take care of the donut makers, the way it should have been all along.

Sooo tragic!

Yeah, it's a real tragedy for our law enforcement bureaucrats! They have been livin' off the fat of the failed Drug War for decades. Billions pumped into their programs, and nothing to show for it...these agencies have yet to achieve any of their policy goals. Its about time the fat dried up for yet another utterly ineffective government program.

Language of Marijuana legalization

In general,

i think it is very important to speak about these issues in terms that most Americans can relate to, especially given our current economy. The failed Drug War represents exactly what most Americans can't stand, regardless of politics: dozens and dozens of bureaucratic agencies and bureaucratic programs over the years have been fed billions of dollars, yet nothing has been achieved. No policy goals have been achieved. I think that is an angle that many people will respond to...Another failed government program that we keep throwing money at that is achieving nothing of value for the average citizen.

Rant#2: I think marijuana legalization should be couched in terms of Prohibition-repeal. People generally have a knee-jerk negative reaction to the notion of legalizing pot. But using the language of "repeal of Prohibition" helps people to understand that we are currently in this strange time when pot is Prohibited...but that for most of our nation's history marijuana has been legal. It also ties into alcohol Prohibition, and its storied history, and many of the parallels that we can draw, including how much more practical sense its makes to keep alcohol legal rather than going back to the crazy world of alcohol Prohibition.

Donuts

That was my first thought. "Oh Hell, how are we gonna buy all our donuts now?" Donut shops better beware now as they will become the new "target."

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